Thursday, July 05, 2007

Holy Spirit - Water

We noted that the Hebrew and Greek words for Spirit literally mean "wind." I enjoyed our time, and felt like we learned a lot about the Spirit through the
illustration of the wind.

The scripture often associates and or contrasts the Holy Spirit and water.

The first appearance of the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1) says that He "moved (or hovered) upon the face of the waters."

John the Baptist taught "I baptize you with water, but when the Promised One comes, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire."

As Jesus was coming up out of the water the Holy Spirit appeared to John (in the likeness of a dove).

Jesus told Nicodemus "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

Perhaps the most clear connection between the Holy Spirit and water is in John 7, Jesus yelled loudly in the crowded temple "If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him." John then adds this explanation "He said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were going to receive, for the Spirit had not yet been received, because Jesus had not yet been glorified."

This same disciple, many years later wrote (I John 5) "Jesus Christ--He is the One who came by water and blood; not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the One who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water, and the blood--and these three are in agreement.”

In Hebrew culture, water was often associated with ritual cleanings. The tabernacle had a copper "laver" at which the priests were required to wash their hands and feet before sacrificing anything on the altar. Ritual baths for purification in "Miqvah" were very common before the time of Christ. Water symbolized the washing away of filth and uncleanness. With that background, Titus 3:5 says "He saved us-- not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit."

The Holy Spirit has some clear associations and contrasts with water. A few things seem clear.
* The Spirit is involved in cleansing us from sin.
* The Spirit is involved in some activities that come after cleansing.

John 16 "Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don't go away the Counselor will not come to you.
If I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged."

Our discussion Sunday will start with a question...
"What can we learn about the Holy Spirit from the comparison and contrast between His work and water?"

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