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What Does the Bible Say About..Water?

What does water mean in the Bible; what is its importance ?


Most of the time in the Bible, water means something to drink, bathe in, or be transported upon. It may also be used to drown people (pharaoh’s army in Exodus 14:28). In other words, most of the time water merely means water.

On the other hand, sometimes water means something more. Because water is something used to clean oneself, it becomes a symbol for purity. Immersion in water has always been the Jewish rite of purification. The rules for purification in Leviticus, chapters 15-19, all involved immersion in water. Because of this, the New Testament also uses water as a rite of purification. “When once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 3:20-21) “And now, why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins.” (Acts 22:16)

Because immersion in water is like a burial and resurrection, the water in baptism is also important to show that the one who comes to believe in God is putting off the old life and being resurrected to a new life. (Romans 6)

Because drinking water is important to the sustaining of life, Jesus compared himself and his words to “living water.” (John 4:4-26)

So, as with most things, the context shows what water means in the Bible. It can mean water, or it can mean purification, burial, or life.