That part of that verse puzzled me.
There are several things in the Bible that puzzle me. But I had light shed on one of those things recently during my personal study time. My quandary was located near the beginning of the nighttime conversation between Jesus and the Jewish leader, Nicodemus.
The passage goes like this: Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:1-5 ESV).
Please re-read verse 5. Do you want to guess what in that verse had puzzled me?
|Photo by Frances Gunn from Unsplash|
I’ll just tell you. It’s the part about the water. I’ve always had a hard time figuring out just what water Jesus was talking about. Have you ever wondered that yourself?
I previously knew of two possibilities, but in reading a commentary from Bible Study Fellowship International I learned of a third one.
The three options are:
1- Some say it’s the water we come through when we’re physically born by natural means. But, to me, that has never made sense because Jesus would be saying that in order to be saved, we must be physically born. Uh-----I just don’t think that’s it because we’re all physically born and there’s water (amniotic fluid) involved. [Side note: Back in the olden days when I gave birth, that was called the bag of waters.]
2- Then there’s water baptism. This would mean that Jesus is saying that water baptism is a requirement for a person to enter the Kingdom of God. We know that’s not the case. If someone gets saved, but then dies before they can get baptized this would mean they would be condemned to Hell. NOT SO! God commands water baptism as the outward sign of the inward reality of believing and receiving Christ.
3- So thirdly, The Bible often analogizes water with the Word of God. It’s frequently a picture of God’s Word cleansing and giving life.
When talking to His disciples, Jesus said, “You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you” (John 15:3 NKJV).
Speaking of Himself and His love for the church, Jesus said, “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,” (Ephesians 5:26 NKJV).
Speaking to followers of Jesus, Peter said, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:22-23).
Therefore, I’m saying that the truth of God’s Word has got to wash over us, bringing us to Spiritual rebirth. According to John 3:6, flesh gives birth to flesh and Spirit gives birth to spirit. This new birth is a spiritual work that only God can do. We simply must believe in Jesus and receive Him into our hearts. Basically, we’re saying, “Yes,” to God. In doing so, we open our hands and receive His offer of Salvation/Eternal Life.
When we do this, we really do become a new person, as though we were literally born-again. We’ve turned a page and all things are made new—we have a new mindset, a new worldview, a new sense of love, peace and joy. We see the Kingdom of God and have a great sense of gratitude that God the Father, through His Son, Jesus, has rescued us and brought us into His own family.
We are indeed “born of water and the Spirit.”
I’m curious to know if anyone else has ever wondered about the water Jesus spoke of in John 3:5. Am I the only one?
Your comments are welcome.
©Connie Wohlford 2016