This types and shadows study focuses on the model of water. Come with us to see why Jesus used water in his teachings so much.
Water and The Spirit
Types and Symbols
- Rock = Jesus
- Fire = Judgment
- Leaven = Sin
- Blood = Atonement
Figures of Speech
- Metaphor = I’m on Fire
- Simile = Hot as an Oven
- Hyperbole = Burning to Death
- Hendiadys = Hot and Miserable
The Function of Water
- To Live = Water is essential to life
- To Clean = Removes filthiness
- To Grow = Water ensures the fertility of the land
Water is a symbol of The Holy Spirit in scripture. So let’s look at just a few of the passages of the Bible that refer to water metaphorically and see if we can find the model of water and The Spirit in what is said.
Figurative Uses of water
“My people have done two evils: They have turned away from me, the spring of living water. And they have dug their own wells, which are broken wells that cannot hold water. (Jeremiah 2:13 NCV)
People who quit following the LORD will be like a name written in the dust, because they have left the LORD, the spring of living water. (Jeremiah 17:13b NCV)
Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. (Proverbs 25:25 ESV)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. (Psalms 1:1-3 ESV)
But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever- flowing stream. (Amos 5:24 ESV)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. (Psalms 23:1-2 ESV)
Then he showed me the river of living water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the broad street of the city. The tree of life was on both sides of the river, bearing 12 kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2 HCSB)
Jesus gives us a clearer picture of how water is a symbol for The Holy Spirit in the Book of John.
Jesus and Water
In that place there were six stone water jars that the Jews used in their washing ceremony. Each jar held about twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.”
So they filled the jars to the top. Then he said to them, “Now take some out and give it to the master of the feast.” So they took the water to the master. When he tasted it, the water had become wine.
He did not know where the wine came from, but the servants who had brought the water knew. The master of the wedding called the bridegroom and said to him, “People always serve the best wine first. Later, after the guests have been drinking awhile, they serve the cheaper wine. But you have saved the best wine till now.” So in Cana of Galilee Jesus did his first miracle. There he showed his glory, and his followers believed in him. (John 2:6-11 NCV)
But Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born from water and the Spirit, you cannot enter God’s kingdom. Human life comes from human parents, but spiritual life comes from the Spirit. Don’t be surprised when I tell you, ‘You must all be born again.’ The wind blows where it wants to and you hear the sound of it, but you don’t know where the wind comes from or where it is going. It is the same with every person who is born from the Spirit. (John 3:5-8 NCV)
Jesus said, “If you only knew the free gift of God and who it is that is asking you for water, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said, “Sir, where will you get this living water? The well is very deep, and you have nothing to get water with. Are you greater than Jacob, our father, who gave us this well and drank from it himself along with his sons and flocks?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty. The water I give will become a spring of water gushing up inside that person, giving eternal life. (John 4:10-14 NCV)
On the last and most important day of the feast Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. If anyone believes in me, rivers of living water will flow out from that person’s heart, as the Scripture says.” Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit. The Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet been raised to glory. But later, those who believed in Jesus would receive the Spirit. (John 7:37-39 NCV)
But when the soldiers came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers stuck his spear into Jesus ‘side, and at once blood and water came out. (The one who saw this happen is the one who told us this, and whatever he says is true. And he knows that he tells the truth, and he tells it so that you might believe. (John 19:33-35 NCV)
Notice here how at his death, water and blood flowed from the cross. Cleansing and atonement. Water and wine. Just like Jesus’ first miracle, water and wine are used to celebrate a wedding… our wedding to Him. We are the bride of Christ.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27 ESV)
This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. (1 John 5:6-8 ESV)
Water, The Spirit, and Us
Why do we respond through baptism? What is it about the water that makes it real to us? First, we cannot physically touch Spirit but our human nature yearns for physical touch to make something seem more real to us. Water is a way to come into contact the a physical representation of The Spirit.
And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
(Luke 24:38-40 ESV)
The water is our physical link to the Spirit. It’s what makes it “real” for us.
Baptism is expressed as a link between the physical and the spiritual
(Mark 1:7-8 , Matthew 3:16 , Acts 2:38 , Acts 10:44-48)