Water Water Everywhere

There can be no doubt that water is the most important factor for life. You can exist for up to 30-40 days without food - but only 3-4 without water. Apart from the fact that water is the universal solvent and therefore the most import cleaning agent, water also keeps us cool - and the whole earth cool too. Without it we would all be dead - quickly.

It is no wonder then that the Bible uses water symbolically in many ways to represent spiritual life and sustenance. There are hundreds of verses that use water literally and metaphorically to teach the most valuable lessons about mortal and eternal life.

For example the earth was formed out of water (Genesis 1:1). Adam and Eve were placed in a beautiful garden paradise called Eden. Eden was watered by a great river that flowed out of the garden and then broke into four 'headstreams', They were named the Tigris, Euphrates, Gihon and Pishon.

In the last book of the Bible, when paradise is restored, there is another river that flows from the very throne of God. It is called "The River of Life". It flows down the main street of "The City" providing life-giving water to trees that line the street. The leaves of the trees are used to "heal the nations". (Revelation 22:1). The earth began in paradise with a well-watered garden and it will be transformed back into a well-watered paradise.

Bible poets and prophets alike rely heavily on the symbology of water, both as a blessing and a symbol of oppression. The Psalmist writes, "Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea, through its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Raging water can represent depression, despair and despondency. But the writer concludes by saying, "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God." (Psalms 46:1-4) So, in the end, water is life and hope.

Water represents the life-giving word of God. "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat... Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near... Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon." (Isaiah 55:1-8) Here the word of God is the real life giving force - eternally. Here the prophet tells us that there is a real human need and thirst for God's word. Here we are reminded that it is available to all - without cost. So you don't have to be rich to be saved, only thirsty for God. Here we are reminded that the time to seek God may be short and that we need to respond immediately to the invitation of life.

The prophet Isaiah recognizes this basic human need to be free of sin and uses water as the metaphor for cleansing - the great universal solvent. "Wash and make yourselves clean", he pleads, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow". (Isaiah 1:16 - 18) King David, the great poet writing in the Psalms acknowledges the sin of adultery and murder and pleads for God's washing. "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me." (Psalm 51:1-2)

So, following this symbology, in the New Testament baptism is used to indicate washing with water - so mankind can be 'clean' and free from sin. Actually we are told that the entire nation of Israel was 'baptized in the sea' when they passed through the parted waters of the Red Sea and were delivered from the slavery of Egypt.

According to the great mercy of God, we too can be saved from the slavery of Egypt by passing through the water of baptism. "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him." (1 Peter 3:20)

We can be washed clean of our sin with spiritual water from the word of God. (Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 10:22) We can also experience the daily cleansing of the water of the Holy Spirit. We can be baptised with real water, but ultimately it has to be a spiritual reality - the spiritual baptism that comes directly from Jesus himself. (Matthew 3:11)

So, let's heed the invitation and come to the water, drink freely of the river of life. If we do, there is a paradise promised and a personal participation in the eternal, miraculous River of Life.

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