Joshua instructs each of the twelve tribes to take a stone from the riverbed and use it to construct a memorial in Gilgal, as a commemoration of God’s miracles for future generations to see. Joshua instructs the Israelites to place the stones together, symbolizing the unity that is required of them in facing the challenges ahead. The crossing of the Jordan River occurs just days prior to the holiday of Passover. The cooperation displayed amongst the tribes expresses the idea of unity that Joshua hopes to foster between them. If the Israelites work together and transcend their individuality and tribal differences, the Promised Land is theirs. Success is achieved when we find what unites us, not what separates us.
“That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD” (Joshua 4:6-7)
“And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day” (Joshua 4:9)
Oneness is the guiding principle of our existence; unity is the source, as well as the goal.