Water in John’s Gospel

March 14 (3)

Another thread in John is water.  As I trace this out, we find that water, spirit, eternal life, belief are intertwined.

  • The Baptism of John (ch 1) by water is lesser than the baptism of the one to come.
  • The baptism of Jesus (ch 1, 3) – “he will baptize with the spirit”
  • Wedding at Cana – Water turned to wine (ch 2, refereed to in ch 4)
  • Nicodemus – Jesus spoke of being “born of water and the spirit.”  Is this a contrast of natural and spiritual?
  • John’s vs Jesus’ baptism (Ch. 3)
  • Samaritan woman – Jesus has “living water” which is  greater than the water of Jacob’s well.
  • 1st Sign (water to wine) mentioned at 2nd Sign (healing) (4:46)
  • Sheep Gate – water of healing is compared to Jesus healing by command(ch 5)
  • Jesus walking on water (Ch 6)
  • At festival,  Jesus promises “rivers of living water” which is defined as  the Spirit (ch 8)

Generally material water is superseded in various ways by Jesus’ “water” which is his work and the work of the Spirit.


One thought on “Water in John’s Gospel

  1. In the Gospel of John Jesus’ “water” is indeed a sign of the Spirit he will give his disciples (after he is glorified). Because it is not given until Jesus departs, Jesus “signifies” his coming future gift with such metaphors (another being, “wind” or “breath,” another way to translate “spirit”). Then in Jesus’ last teaching in Jn. 14-16 he gives much detail about this Paraclete, the Spirit of truth, he will leave with his disciples after he departs.
    Jesus’ symbolism would also have been familiar to those familiar with a passage like Isa. 44:3 – “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.” The risen Jesus is the one who pours out this great blessing, the Spirit. Note how Pete quotes Joel in Acts 2:17 – “And in the last days . . . I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.”

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