Water and Blood

This first letter attributed to the apostle John, is full of wonderful verses concerning God’s great love for each one of us. You may have committed some of these to memory, possibly by learning them in song in your early years, but if you haven’t then it’s never too late to be encouraged by profound truths such as ‘Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called children of God’ (1 John 3:1).

Although the letter focusses on God’s great love for us and how, as Christians, we should reflect and live out of this love, he also wrote to refute some erroneous ideas which were being circulated at the time. This false teaching was sowing doubt in the believers about their spiritual status and their hope of eternal life by questioning whether Jesus could be both fully divine and fully human, and by undermining Jesus’ bodily resurrection. John is obviously indignant at this assertion and seeks to counter it with various arguments.

It’s during this defence of the truth that Jesus was fully human and fully divine that our verse for today appears. It’s the words, ‘who came by water and blood … not only by water, but by water and blood’, that appear to be significant in his argument. But what does he mean by this? Scholars differ in their understanding of what the words refer to. What does the word ‘water’ indicate? Does it refer to Jesus’ personal purity, or His ability to wash us clean, or is it a reference to baptism? As I read this verse today it occurred to me that perhaps as well as all those spiritual things it may also be a simple reference to the water that surrounds a baby in the womb, an assurance that, just like each of us, Jesus grow in a human womb, floating in amniotic fluid, and this was the ‘water’ that spilled out before Jesus, the human baby, was born.

And, ‘He came by water and blood’. What does ‘blood’ refer to? Blood is essential for human life, and excessive bloodshed is often what causes death. It may be that this part of the sentence indicates the manner of Jesus’ death, recalling the sacrifice of the perfect lamb for the remission of sin. But could it also be another reassurance of Jesus humanity as well as His divinity.

We have an eternal hope because Jesus came to us as totally human (born in ‘water’ and alive with ‘blood’) and therefore He can be a perfect human representative for the whole human race. But He’s also perfectly divine, able to be the representative of God who can wash us clean with waters of redemption because of His perfect blood sacrifice. In and through Jesus, man and God are reconciled, because the price for all our sins is paid and we can benefit from God’s covenant blessings for His children. Alleluia.

Prayer: Thank You, Father God, that because You loved us so much You sent Your only Son Jesus to be our Saviour. We find it hard to grasp how He was fully man and fully God at the same time, but we’re confident that He was, and that in Him, and because of His redeeming love, we’re adopted into Your family. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


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This is He who came by water and blood – Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.
1 John 5:6, NKJV


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Today's Writer

Denise Cross is married to David Cross and they have three grown up children and eight grandchildren. Denise was previously a Maths teacher and now delights to teach the Lord’s wonderfully logical truth. Her passion is to stir the hearts of passive believers to appropriate all the benefits of abundant life that our Heavenly Father freely offers to each of His children. Her book Rescue from Rejection has been appreciated by many people, in bringing clear answers to this challenging and widespread issue.

Denise Cross

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