The Significance of Water
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What is the only chemical that is less dense as a solid than as a liquid?
What is the most abundant chemical on earth aside from the element hydrogen?
The answer may surprise you. The answer is dihydrogen oxide, or what is simply referred to as WATER. That’s right, good ol’ H20. We don’t normally think of water as a chemical, but the fact is that if fits all the requirements of one. But it is so vastly different in most respects from your average chemical that my high school chemistry book dedicated an entire chapter to it.
In fact, one of my best jokes revolved around water. When I used to work at Wendy’s, one of my fellow co-workers mentioned something about water that got too cold. So, with the most serious look on my face that I could muster, I scolded him by saying, “Wendy’s has an official name for water that got to cold.”
Being the more senior employee, and having mangement that was very hung up on the scandalous issue of calling “rags” by the more Wendy’s appropriate term of “towel,” my co-worker naturally didn’t want to make this sort of mistake anymore and so asked what the official term was. After a short, appropriately dramatic pause, I said, “Ice.”
All kidding aside, the importance of water to our own bodies cannot be overstated. As I sit here, drinking a Cherry Coke, I state emphatically that the best thing to drink is still water. Man hasn’t invented anything that works better with our body’s systems, nor provides a more efficient energy source than plain old water.
So it is not surprising that water is mentioned througout Scripture. The first place that Scripture mentions water is in Genesis 1:2: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” I read somewhere (where I can’t remember) that one of the secular scientists promoting the Big Bang Theory concluded that unless water was present at the very formation of the universe, nothing that we see today could have ever came into being. Nothing! Interesting, then, how Scripture specifically mentions that water was present at the formation of the universe!
Water is portrayed as the protector of God’s chosen people. As the Exodus began, the Israelites walked across a span of the Red Sea, but when the Egyptians tried the same feat, God brought all of the water crashing down on them, destroying the army and effectively ending their pursuit. (Ex 14:21-31)
Water is most prominently displayed through Leviticus 11, 14, and 15 as a cleaning agent for anything ritually unclean. With all of this Scripture saying that water purifies the unclean, it is no wonder that the customs surrounding baptism began! If water can purify the unclean objects, why can’t it purfiy an unclean soul?
Obviously, water can’t do that, but I think that God would have at least appreciated the spirit in which the offering was made, and there is Scriptural evidence suggesting that He still wants us to do this. But, only Jesus can truly purify our souls. In fact, I think that the famous walking on water episode was selected and placed in the gospels to illustrate just that point.
Think about that for just a second. Jesus literally walked across the water!! He has, in effect, shown Himself to have conquered the water, to be superior to it. That’s right, water (even in the baptismal sense) doesn’t clean and purify your soul. Jesus has shown Himself to be above the water, better than the water. It is under His feet, and it submits to Him. Baptism is a symbol, an outward showing of your love for Christ. Like all works, they don’t save you; but they should flow from you in response to receiving God’s Spirit, that He may be glorified.