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Sunday, May 07, 2017

Water In The Bible

Water is essential to man. In fact, around 60% of our body is water. Depending on our environment, a human being can only go from a few hours to a week without water. (I.e., if the environment is extremely hot, a person can dehydrate and die in a few hours). We get water from food and drink and lose it as sweat and urine. We also exhale water saturated breath so we lose water as we breath. Water is essential to life.

In Israel, and the Middle East, water is a precious commodity in their normally dry region. It is needed for drinking, for supplying livestock, for crops, and for washing. In the old days, water was also used for transportation, as in rivers and canals. It could be harnessed for power to drive mills. So it is, and was, necessary and people migrated and settled around water.

Those today, who live in areas with little water, know how important water is. They have to use water saving methods in order to conserve water for more important uses. For instance, you don’t wash your cars or water your grass when you need to conserve water. Water is used for more important usages like drinking, cooking, bathing. You have to prioritize to conserve water for more important purposes.

There is the salt water of oceans, the running water of rivers and streams, the underground water of springs, and rain water often collected in cisterns.

In the Bible, water is used symbolically in multiple ways.

Water symbolizing the Word of God

Ephesians 5:25-27 (Modern King James Version - MKJV) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it,  (26)  that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word,  (27)  that He might present it to Himself as the glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that it should be holy and without blemish.

This particular scrpture equates water with the Word, “the washing of water by the Word”. The Word of God (which always points to Jesus) sanctifies and cleanses; to make without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish. When we read the Word, we see Jesus, who died to save us.

John 15:3 (MKJV) Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken to you.

Jesus says we are clean through the Word He has spoken. How is that? Well, when we read the Word of God, the Bible, we come to the knowledge that we are sinners and that the answer to our sin problem is Jesus. Jesus’ work on the cross paid for our sins. When we accept Him as our Savior, He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. And as we read the Word and get to know God through the Word, we are convicted of sins and can ask Jesus for forgiveness. This daily cleansing is the sanctifying process. We are saved (as we accept Jesus) but we continue to sin so we need to ask forgiveness as we are convicted of sins. How are we convicted? Through reading the Bible and meditating on it and letting it reveal places in our heart that need work.

John 1:1-5 (MKJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  (2)  He was in the beginning with God.  (3)  All things came into being through Him, and without Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being.  (4)  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  (5)  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.

In John 1:,1 Jesus is described as the Word and that He was in the beginning with God and all things were created through Him. Jesus is God’s communication to man. God gave us a a unique communique that came through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus also personifies God’s wisdom and power. When we look at Jesus, we see God’s love, His mercy, His grace, His wisdom, His power. Jesus embodied God’s message to mankind. God spoke through the person of His Son. Jesus is God’s revelation to us. Jesus revealed the Father and the plan of salvation to us. God’s perfect revelation of Himself in the flesh.

This is typified through the Bronze Laver in the Tabernacle and Temple.

Exodus 30:17-21 (MKJV) And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying,  (18)  You shall also make a laver of bronze and its foot also of bronze, for washing. And you shall put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar. And you shall put water in it,  (19)  for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet there.  (20)  When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water so that they do not die. Or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to Jehovah,  (21)  they shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they do not die. And it shall be a statute forever to them, to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

Exodus 38:8 (MKJV) And he made the laver of bronze, and its base bronze, out of the mirrors of serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

First in the Tabernacle, and later in the Temple, there was a laver or basin filled with water for the Priests to gaze in and then wash themselves before they could enter into the Tabernacle. Again, this represents the Word. The reflection the Priests got as they gazed into the laver made from polished bronze and the water represents the truth we see as we read the Bible. We see our true selves and we see the truth of God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Word is a mirror to reveal truth, the truth of our sins and the truth of our Savior who forgives our sins. As we are convicted we wash ourselves in His Blood and are forgiven.

James 1: 23-25 (Good News Bible - GNB) If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are. (24)They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like. (25) But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice---you will be blessed by God in what you do.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (Tree of Life Version - TLV) But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory—just as from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

“Now as mirrors, among the Jews, Greeks, and Romans, were made of highly polished metal, (1 Corinthian 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known), it would often happen, especially in strong light, that the face would be greatly illuminated by this strongly reflected light; and to this circumstance the apostle seems here to allude. So, by earnestly contemplating the Gospel of Jesus, and believing on him who is its Author, the soul becomes illuminated with his Divine splendor, for this sacred mirror reflects back on the believing soul the image of Him whose perfections it exhibits; and thus we see the glorious form after which our minds are to be fashioned; and by believing and receiving the influence of his Spirit, μεταμορφουμεθα, our form is changed, την αυτην εικονα, into the same image, which we behold there; and this is the image of God, lost by our fall, and now recovered and restored by Jesus Christ: for the shining of the face of God upon us, i.e. approbation, through Christ, is the cause of our transformation into the Divine image.” - Adam Clark’s Commentary On The Bible

“And the meaning is, that the gospel reflected the glory of the Lord; it was, so to speak, the mirror - the polished, burnished substance in which the glory of the Lord shone, and where that glory was irradiated and reflected so that it might be seen by Christians. There was no veil over it; no obscurity; nothing to break its dazzling splendor, or to prevent its meeting the eye. Christians, by looking on the gospel, could see the glorious perfections and plans of God as bright, and clear, and brilliant as they could see a light reflected from the burnished surface of the mirror. So to speak, the glorious perfections of God shone from heaven; beamed upon the gospel, and were thence reflected to the eye and the heart of the Christian, and had the effect of transforming them into the same image. This passage is one of great beauty, and is designed to set forth the gospel as being “the reflection” of the infinite glories of God to the minds and hearts of people.” - Adam Barnes’ Notes On The Bible

1 John 5:6-8 (MKJV) This is He who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water only, but by the water and blood. And the Spirit is He who bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth.  (7)  For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.  (8)  And there are three that bear witness on the earth: the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and the three are into the one.

John 1:14 (MKJV) And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and of truth.

In other translations:
John 1:14 (Contemporary English Version - CEV) The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us.

John 1:14 (Easy To Read Version - ERV) The Word became a man and lived among us. We saw his divine greatness—the greatness that belongs to the only Son of the Father. The Word was full of grace and truth.

God wrote the Bible by revealing it to men. It is His communication to us, a written letter, if you will. Written by Him but through the hands of an amenuensis. Then He sent the living Word, Jesus Christ. Jesus represented the Father to mankind and when we see Him, we see the Father.

John 14:9-11 (MKJV) Jesus said to him, Have I been with you such a long time and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. And how do you say, Show us the Father?  (10)  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The Words that I speak to you I do not speak of Myself, but the Father who dwells in Me, He does the works.  (11)  Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the very works themselves.

How did God create the earth and the universe? Let’s look at Genesis 1.

Genesis 1:1-4 (MKJV) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  (2)  And the earth was without form and empty. And darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.  (3)  And God said, Let there be light. And there was light.  (4)  And God saw the light that it was good. And God divided between the light and the darkness.

Psalm 33:6 (MKJV) By the Word of Jehovah were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

So how did God create the light? He SPOKE it into being. God created all things, EXCEPT human beings, by speaking words. When it came to creating mankind, God used His Hands to form Adam and Eve and He breathed His Life Breath into us. We are said to be made in His Image. It is why Christians say human beings are the height of God’s Creation, the pinnacle of His Creation. But everything else was created when God spoke.

Proverbs 3:19 (MKJV) Jehovah has founded the earth by wisdom; by understanding He has founded the heavens.

Water is a source and sustainer of life and gives refreshment. The Word of God is a source and sustainer of spiritual life and gives spiritual refreshment. Nothing refreshes us like a cold glass of water when we are hot and tired. Nothing refreshes our spirit like spending time in the Word when we are hot and tired of the world, sick at heart, frustrated, angry, hurt. We can go to the Bible for refreshment. We read about God and our faith is strengthened. We read about Jesus and we find healing and forgiveness. God’s word gives us hope and helps us to regain perspective. When we are in the spiritual desert of this world, we become desperate for life giving water to satisfy our souls. We will run after mirages of water only to find it’s nothing by chimera, false. There are so many ways human beings try to satisfy their thirst but there is only one way that works and that is seeking God. He is the thirst quencher.

Psalm 63:1 O God, You are my God; I will seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You, as in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

John 4:10-15 (MKJV) Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give Me to drink, you would have asked of Him, and He would have given you living water.  (11)  The woman said to Him, Sir, you have no vessel, and the well is deep. From where then do you have that living water?  (12)  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, and his children and his cattle?  (13)  Jesus answered and said to her, Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again,  (14)  but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.  (15)  The woman said to Him, Sir, give me this water, so that I may not thirst nor come here to draw.

Psalm 107:8-9 (MKJV) Oh that men would praise Jehovah for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the sons of man!  (9)  For He satisfies the thirsty soul, and fills the hungry soul with good.

Revelation 22:16-19 (CEV) I am Jesus! And I am the one who sent my angel to tell all of you these things for the churches. I am David's Great Descendant, and I am also the bright morning star.  (17)  The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" Everyone who hears this should say, "Come!" If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It's free!  (18)  Here is my warning for everyone who hears the prophecies in this book: If you add anything to them, God will make you suffer all the terrible troubles written in this book.  (19)  If you take anything away from these prophecies, God will not let you have part in the life-giving tree and in the holy city described in this book.

The Word, like a seed planted in our hearts, can sprout and grow with the water of the Holy Spirit. Water is lifegiving, refreshing, making plants and trees fruitful. The water of the Word is lifegiving, refreshing and makes us fruitful with the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, self control, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness.

1 Corinthians 3:6-8 (ERV) I (Paul) planted the seed and Apollos watered it. But God is the one who made the seed grow.  (7)  So the one who plants is not important, and the one who waters is not important. Only God is important, because he is the one who makes things grow.  (8)  The one who plants and the one who waters have the same purpose. And each one will be rewarded for his own work.

Many times water is represented in the stories in the Bible and it is often meaning the lifegiving Word of God.

Genesis 2:8-10  And Jehovah God planted a garden eastward in Eden. And there He put the man whom He had formed.  (9)  And out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. The tree of life also was in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  (10)  And a river went out of Eden to water the garden. And from there it was divided and became four heads.

I believe there was a real Garden of Eden and real rivers. First the natural: a real garden named Eden with a river that watered it and it really divided and became 4 distinct rivers. Then the symbolic, I also believe that these real places had symbolic meanings as well. The Garden of Eden was created by God for Adam and Even and their descendants to enjoy Creation and enjoy God’s company. It represents God’s perfect provision. They had everything they needed and could desire. If not for sin, they would have enjoyed this for eternity as God desired.

“No delights can be satisfying to the soul, but those which God himself has provided and appointed for it. Eden signifies delight and pleasure. Wherever it was, it had all desirable conveniences, without any inconvenience, though no other house or garden on earth ever was so. It was adorned with every tree pleasant to the sight, and enriched with every tree that yielded fruit grateful to the taste and good for food. God, as a tender Father, desired not only Adam's profit, but his pleasure; for there is pleasure with innocency, nay there is true pleasure only in innocency. When Providence puts us in a place of plenty and pleasure, we ought to serve God with gladness of heart in the good things he gives us.” -Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

Adam and Eve were sustained and provided for, protected and satisfied in the Garden of Eden. They rested in God’s delight and were watered by the Word of God. As Christians, we can also rest in God’s delight and our spirits can be watered with the sustaining Word of God.

It is also in the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve met with God on a daily basis to walk and talk with Him.

Genesis 3:8-9 (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible - LITV) And they heard the sound of Jehovah God walking up and down in the garden at the breeze of the day. And the man and his wife hid themselves from the face of Jehovah God in the middle of the trees of the garden.  (9)  And Jehovah God called to the man and said to him, Where are you?

This was a time when God talked with them. They literally heard God’s Word as it issued from His Mouth. Although we don’t yet walk with God, we do get His Word written for us in the Holy Bible. He communicated with us by giving us His Word and by sending His Word in flesh, Jesus Christ.

Here is another story that incorporates water.

Genesis 16:3-16 (MKJV) And Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her slave woman, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife (after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan).  (4)  And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.  (5)  And Sarai said to Abram, My wrong be upon you. I have given my slave woman into your bosom, and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes. Jehovah judge between me and you.  (6)  But Abram said to Sarai, Behold, your slave woman is in your hand. Do to her as it pleases you. And Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her face.  (7)  And the Angel of Jehovah found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.  (8)  And He said, Hagar, Sarai's slave, where did you come from? and where will you go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.  (9)  And the Angel of Jehovah said to her, Return to your mistress and submit yourself under her hands.  (10)  And the Angel of Jehovah said to her, I will multiply your seed exceedingly, so that it shall not be numbered for multitude.  (11)  And the Angel of Jehovah said to her, Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son. And you shall call his name Ishmael, because Jehovah has heard your affliction.  (12)  And he will be a wild man. His hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him. And he shall live in the presence of all his brothers.  (13)  And she called the name of Jehovah who had spoken to her, You are a God of vision! For she said, Even here have I looked after Him that sees me?  (14)  Therefore the well was called The Well of the Living One Seeing Me. Behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.  (15)  And Hagar bore Abram a son. And Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bore, Ishmael.  (16)  And Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

I believe there was a real man named Abram/Abraham and a real wife named Sarai/Sarah and a slave girl named Hagar. I believe she really became pregnant and was saucy to her master in her feelings of superiority. I believe she hurt Sarah and Sarah dealt harshly with her and she ran away until she came to a “fountain of water”. But I also believe that this “fountain of water” has a symbolic meaning as the Word of God and sure enough, as we read further, God does send an angel to speak to her. She gets reassurance, direction and guidance and wisdom from the words God sent. Just as we can go to the Bible and get reassurance, direction, guidance and wisdom from reading the Word of God.

There is the time when the Israelites were saved by God’s miracle of parting the Red Sea and they walked through on dry ground. I believe this really happened but I also believe it represents how God provided a way of salvation and showed it to us in the Bible. By reading the Bible we see Jesus as the bridge for man to walk to God. Our sin kept us separated from God but Jesus made the way for us to have access to God once again! He bridges that separation so we can once again fellowship with our Father!

As you read the Bible, look for references to water or bodies of water. Not always, but many times, water has a greater meaning as the Word of God. The Word of God is lifegiving, refreshing, essential to our spirit. If we want to remain spiritually healthy and growing, we need the water of the Word on a daily basis. Nothing else works. We can run to the broken cisterns of the world with it’s stagnant, brackish water or we can run to the River and drink of the pure water of life.

Jeremiah 2:12-13 (MKJV) Be amazed, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; be completely desolated, says Jehovah.  (13)  For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters, to hew out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Do we run to Dr. Phil, to self help books, to false religions, to Ouija boards, to palm readers, to vitamin regimens, to medical doctors, to Yoga practices, to meditation gurus... everything BUT the Word of God?

Only from Jesus' mouth comes the true Word of God! And it is sharp as a double edged sword at discerning truth!

Hebrews 4:12-13 (CEV) What God has said isn't only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts.  (13)  Nothing is hidden from God! He sees through everything, and we will have to tell him the truth.

Revelation 19:11-16 (MKJV)  And I saw Heaven opened. And behold, a white horse! And He sitting on him was called Faithful and True. And in righteousness He judges and makes war. And I saw Heaven opened. And behold, a white horse! And He sitting on him was called Faithful and True. And in righteousness He judges and makes war.  (12)  And His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head many crowns. And He had a name written, one that no one knew except Himself.  (13)  And He had been clothed in a garment dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  (14)  And the armies in Heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  (15)  And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, so that with it He should strike the nations. And He will shepherd them with a rod of iron. And He treads the winepress of the wine of the anger and of the wrath of Almighty God.  (16)  And He has on His garment, and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

I, for one, want to run to the River of Life! I want the real wisdom, the truth!

Revelation 22:1-5 (MKJV) And he showed me a pure river of Water of Life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.  (2)  In the midst of its street, and of the river, from here and from there, was the Tree of Life, which bore twelve fruits, each yielding its fruit according to one month. And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  (3)  And every curse will no longer be; but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will serve Him.  (4)  And they will see His face, and His name will be in their foreheads.  (5)  And there will be no night there. And they need no lamp, or light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light. And they will reign forever and ever.

Another question to ask ourselves is do we exude the water of the Word? As I said in the beginning we must ingest water daily in order to live and our bodies naturally exude water through sweat, urine or exhalation. Are you taking in the Water of the Word on a regular basis? Are you exuding the Word in your thoughts and speech? Something to think about isn't it? Are our words full of Jesus? Full of hope, full of truth, full of wisdom, full of encouragement, always pointing to God? Or is our speech full of curses, gossip, slander, despair, hopelessness, anger?

James 3:2-11 (ERV)  We all make many mistakes. A person who never said anything wrong would be perfect. Someone like that would be able to control their whole body too.  (3)  We put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us. With these bits we can control their whole body.  (4)  It is the same with ships. A ship is very big, and it is pushed by strong winds. But a very small rudder controls that big ship. And the one who controls the rudder decides where the ship will go. It goes where he wants it to go.  (5)  It is the same with our tongue. It is a small part of the body, but it can boast about doing great things. A big forest fire can be started with only a little flame.  (6)  The tongue is like a fire. It is a world of evil among the parts of our body. It spreads its evil through our whole body and starts a fire that influences all of life. It gets this fire from hell.  (7)  Humans have control over every kind of wild animal, bird, reptile, and fish, and they have controlled all these things.  (8)  But no one can control the tongue. It is wild and evil, full of deadly poison.  (9)  We use our tongues to praise our Lord and Father, but then we curse people who were created in God's likeness.  (10)  These praises and curses come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, this should not happen.  (11)  Do good water and bad water flow from the same spring? Of course not.

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