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19 April 2021

Water - A Symbol


Mankind was created to think in pictures, and in the Bible God does much communication via pictures, with words, in dreams and visions. To understand a picture, the component parts must be considered, the sum of which explains the picture. So, the idiom, “A picture is worth a thousand words” gives a good idea of what it takes to describe a picture. In the Bible, water, as a symbol, is a component part of many different pictures, as the sea, rivers, a spring, dew, fog/mist, rain, ice, snow and hail. The use of the words and often the context paint, a different picture, which when understood correctly, will give a person spiritual understanding, of that which comes via the spirit of God.

Luke 4:17-18: 17. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. (Jesus read Isaiah 61:1-2) Stated here is the purpose of the ministry of Christ while on the earth. How did Jesus preach (proclaim) deliverance, etc.? While Jesus literally healed blind, deaf and those with various diseases, all those things are to be considered to teach us spiritual things, to show us what is in our hearts and deliver us from our iniquity.

Matthew 13:34-35: 34. All these things spake Jesus in parables unto the multitudes; and without a parable spake he nothing unto them: 35. that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world. (ASV) Jesus only taught the people in parables, and only explained them to those who ask (Mt 13:36; Mk 4:34) . A parable is a short story to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. The story paints a picture with words. Some things Jesus explained, but in order to understand others, we need the guidance of the Spirit to help define them. Often nature is used along with the Bible, as the Spirit points out the meaning.

Isaiah 55:3-4, 6-11: 3. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David (a type of Christ). 4. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.... 6. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11. So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Notice first, that an everlasting covenant is made with God when we hear the voice, or the spirit of Christ (Php 1:19; 1Pt1:11; Rom 8:14). The difference between the way God thinks versus mankind, is described as more different than the distance between the heavens and the earth. One might say that the heavens represented God’s way of thinking, while the earth represents mankind’s thoughts. Additionally, God’s spoken words are likened to rain and snow from heaven, while man’s words are likened to earthly water: Proverbs 18:4: Deep waters [are] the words of a man's mouth, The fountain of wisdom [is] a flowing brook. (YLT) The deepest water on the earth is the sea, and man is likened to a fountain which generates a stream (river).

Why are these things not brought out more in Bible studies? We can take the things God told Israel concerning their relationship to Him and concerning their sins as also applying to us in our lifetime. To Judah, during a cycle of apostasy, the Lord told them through the prophet: Jeremiah 2:13: For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. The people of Judah were like broken cisterns which could not hold, or would not receive living waters. While God has given us a book (Bible) to read, we are to get our understanding of what is written from Him.

Jesus confronted the Jews concerning the scriptures: John 5:39-40: 39. You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; 40. yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (RSV) The Jews were experts in the written word, but refused to hear Jesus’ explanations of it. Could it be that Christianity has the same problem today?

When trying to understand a particular scripture, we may be confronted with more than one spiritual concept. The context should be considered, as well as how the symbols relate. John 4:5-10: 5. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, ask drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knew the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou would have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The first thing to notice is the contention: Example: You are a Baptist, I am a Catholic, why are you talking to me?

After the woman responded to Jesus’ request, He turned the conversation to the spiritual. How did the woman understand what Jesus said? John 4:11-12: 11. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from where then hast thou that living water? 12. Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? The woman took what Jesus said as literal, i.e. His words heavenly, but her thoughts were earthly. She was spiritually drinking from Jacob’s well. Jacob is a type of a converted person who has not yet wrestled with Michael. Therefore what the converted teach is their earthly understanding. Living water comes only by listening to Christ’s explanations.

After describing New Jerusalem, John next sees a river: Revelation 22:1: And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. One stream of thought is coming from God. Now, look at what mankind did with it: Genesis 2:10-14: 10. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it was parted, and became into four heads. 11. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasses the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12. And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasses the whole land of Ethiopia. 14. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. If a river is a symbol for words from thought, then the land of Eden has to be the mind of God, and the garden being watered is man’s mind. There is one way of thinking coming from God, but man adds his own interpretation - thus we have four rivers, or earthly thinking. Remember, the Bible describes the earth as having four directions, four corners, four winds, etc. Fours streams of thought reveal what about the beginning of mankind?

Pison (H6376): The word means overflowing. The Hebrew root, push (H6335) figuratively is acting proud. A stream of thought overflowing with pride, and compasses the whole land of Havilah (unknown), where there is gold.

Gihon (H1521): From the root = giah (H1521) to burst forth; labor to bring forth. The definition of Gihon is that brought forth by labor. (Current name is the Nile River in Egypt & Ethiopia)

Hiddekel (H2313): Rapid, vehement. Flows east through Assyria. Source in the same mountains as the Euphrates and runs parallel with it until they join just before entering the Persian Gulf. (Current name is Tigris)

Euphrates (H6578): Fruitfulness. From the root para (H6509) meaning to bear fruit, fruitful. The water is said to taste sweet. This river is the largest and longest in western Asia, and has always been known by the same name.

Four streams of thought that tell the story that began with eating off the wrong tree and continues today. If I put all the meanings of the four rivers together, it sounds like: Pride brings forth quickly, the fruit of confusion.

There are some interesting things about the last two rivers when considered spiritually. Both rivers run through the northern territory occupied by both Assyria and Babylon, two major enemies of Israel. The water of the Euphrates tastes sweet and Babylon was established by Assyria: Isaiah 23:13: Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people was not, till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: Assyria means successful, right. Churches and pastors gauge their success by the number of members. Because of their ability to gather many, they think that what the teach is right and God is blessing them. However, Jesus said: narrow is the way which leads to life, and few there be that find it (Mt 7:14) - self success establishes confusion.

Job 20:4-5, 12: 4. Know you not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, 5. That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? ...12. Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue. Proverbs 20:17: Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel. The confusing doctrines taught by spiritual Babylon sound sweet to the insincere and those ignorant of God’s way of thinking, but those teachings bring spiritual death.

God’s word is sweet to those with ears to hear: Psalms 119:101-105: 101. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. 102. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. 103. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104. Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. 105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

As you can see, symbols can be simple on the one hand, but much deeper on the other hand. It requires prayerful study, the searching of all the scriptures and the Lord’s guidance to ascertain the full depth of a symbol.

Job 28:12-13, 20-21, 23-24: 12. But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? 13. Man knows not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. ...20. [From where] then comes wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? 21. Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. ...23. God understands the way thereof, and he knows the place thereof. 24. For he looks to the ends of the earth, and sees under the whole heaven. There is only one source of wisdom, and that is the wisdom that I want to acquire. Amen.