Sunday Devotional: The Bat Cave Miracle

John 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area,
and all the people started coming to him,
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman
who had been caught in adultery
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.

Today’s reading from John 8 is a reminder to us to be humble and refrain from being preeningly self-righteous, ever ready to point a finger at another, while we ourselves are flawed and sinful.

John 8 is also a reminder of God’s infinite mercy — that He is ever ready to forgive us — but we must be remorseful, ask for His forgiveness, and demonstrate that our remorse is genuine by not committing that sin again.

On August 15, 1992, Dave Gant, a spelunker who scuba-dives into underwater caves, was trapped in a dark cave in Nickajack Lake, Tennessee for 17 hours. Believing his fate to be that of certain death, Gant asked for God’s forgiveness and was saved — literally and spiritually.

As recounted by Michael H. Brown of Spirit Daily:

[T]here he was in a dark cave, trying to breathe in an air bubble that was rapidly being depleted. All he had to hold onto was a piece of stalactite. He knew his time was just about up. He was trapped in the cave for more than 14 hours before he said his first prayers.

But finally Gant — whose nickname had been “Dirty Dave” — had gone to God. He thought it was his last confession. Instead it turned out to be a deliverance followed by a miracle.

“I asked the Lord to come into my life to save my soul, and he did it, just like that,” said Gant, who owned a logging company in Alabama. “It felt like a big invisible hand — three different times — went straight in my chest all the way to my toes and pulled out evil – pure evil. Three different times, one after the other….”

It was at this point that something remarkable happened…. [M]ore than twenty hours after he got lost, there was suddenly a roaring sound that sent bubbles up to replenish the air pocket — and soon after, a pair of rescue divers appeared to escort him to safety….

As reported by Orlando Sentinel, after surviving for 16 hours by holding onto a stalactite and breathing air trapped in an 8-inch high pocket at the top of the cave, David Gant, of Bryant, Alabama, was rescued when the Tennessee Valley Authority lowered the level of Nickajack Lake several feet, flushing the cave with fresh air.

According to a longer, detailed account of Gant’s rescue, “The Bat Cave Miracle“:

In the last moments of his 17-hour nightmare alone in the dark of that air passage, Gant had experienced a vision of two angels coming to take him home. He had visions of the divers searching futilely near the entrance and could see his family waiting and praying outside. He had seen two angels coming to escort him to heaven….

Gant was born-again as a Christian in the darkness of that cave. In the years that followed, he gave his testimony about the angels that saved him to congregations across the South — The Bat Cave Miracle.

Joel 2:12-13

Even now, says the Lord,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning.
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the Lord, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.

So, to anyone out there whose soul and conscience may be stirred by this post, if you hear His voice, harden not your heart. Take that first step by acknowledging you have sinned:

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. But most of all because I have offended you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.”

All you have to do is make that first step . . . .

May the peace and love of our Lord, Jesus the Christ, be with you,


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1 year ago

I appreciate these devotionals. They all resonate, this one especially. If Christianity isn’t true then it doesn’t matter, but if it is true then nothing matters more. So said CS Lewis. Nothing matters more, getting right with God. Being a “rational” man, I don’t know how. The unquiet mindstream doubles back on itself with doubts and reservations. Introspection, quiet reflection is indicated, the reassuring sweetness and power of nature. Perhaps I’ll find a cave. Prayers and blessings

1 year ago

And with Your Spirit, Amén. It’s a different world today! In the “me first” most all don’t seek the Lord only in a moment of dire need, call it survival and a change may happen, the selfish individual will eventually return to the same ways with no remorse. Humanity is void of compassion.

Auntie Lulu
Auntie Lulu
1 year ago

What a spiritual feast for today. I never cease to love, and marvel at the stories of angels interacting with and among God’s children here on the Earth.

Dr Eowyn . . . Thank you for taking the time and effort to skillfully compile this most precious lesson. God Bless you.

1 year ago

The Pharisees were testing The Messiah’s knowledge of the Law. I’m sure the ‘writing in the sand’ was from Leviticus 20:10 and the pharisees failed to present the man with whom she presumably laid because it was ‘one of them’. Challenged by Messiah, they retreated without achieving their goal because the crowd was witness to their duplicity. Light exposes evil.

1 year ago

And people beg for miracles and fail to see them right before their eyes.

1 year ago

Or …the writing that Jesus was engaged in was the listing of the sins of the accusers. They were called out, and retreated.

1 year ago
Reply to  Seamusmeboy

That’s how I’ve always interpreted this reading. It’s a mirror to Exodus where Moses first breaks the tablets and comes down a second time “More Calmly”. In Spanish it is easier to understand.

When Christ stands up in English, in Spanish the implication is that he struggles internally and gets control of his emotions. Anyway, the intent of the gesture of writing in the sand had the intended effect. Everybody left more or less healed by the experience.

1 year ago

Never heard of Gant’s story before. Wow!

Christian Zionist
1 year ago

One of your best, sweet girl! Sending it on!

1 year ago

Thank You, Dr. Eowyn, for this truly uplifting and true story. I believe every word of it, for this reason: My late father confided in me what had happened to him at Mass one Sunday when he was eight or nine years old. He was at Mass, and he had a vision of St. Theresa of Lisieux. Over the years, he told me of the details of his vision; I was six or seven when he first told me of his vision, and as the years went by, he told me more details of it. If I know one thing,… Read more »

1 year ago

I love this so much. Thank you, Dr. E.

Tim Shey
1 year ago

A friend of mine, Mike Jensen, recently suffered a heart attack on the Salmon River in a remote part of Idaho and miraculously survived the ordeal.

Miracle on the Salmon River

1 year ago

Amen. Very nice. We’re never too “good” for confession.