"...Jesus stood and cried out, saying, `If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, `From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'" (John 7:37, 38)

Water provides the means for all forms of life to exist. It quenches our thirst, supports the plant and animal life on which we feed, cleans our bodies, and carries our ships. On a daily basis, we are all aware of the significant power of this element, and our dependency on it. We see many analogies using this element when we look at its use in the New Testament to explain how one is cleansed and sustained through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Pertaining to salvation, that is, the saving of one's soul from eternal separation from God, water is used figureatively in the Lord Jesus' familiar conversation with the woman at the well. In this instance, the Messiah revealed Himself to a Samaritan woman who heard from Him the distinction between the physical nature of water and the eternal quenching of man's true thirst:
Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again;
but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst;
but the water that I shall give him shall become in him
a well of water springing up to eternal life." (John 4:13,14)

The Lord's statement to the Samaritan woman did two important things. It reached her on an immediate and physical level, for we all know what it is like to be thirsty, and from this it brought before her the living water which is available to all who will drink it. For whatever reason, the woman pondered the idea that the Lord's offer somehow pertained to her physical thirst and would save her the trouble of obtaining water from the well every day. Even if she was humoring Him, she soon learned that there was something very different about this man, and it was her testimony which ultimately led many others from her city to come and hear the Lord Jesus' words. (John 4:15-42)
To drink of the living water to which the Lord was referring in Samaria, one first has to admit his thirst for knowing the true God and being with Him for eternity. According to the Bible, every man is created with a concept of eternity set in his heart, (Ecclesiastes 3:11) as well as a knowledge of God. (Romans 1:18-20) Man has been given a free will to either acknowledge these facts, or to train himself to believe otherwise, thus exchanging God's truth for a lie. The one who drinks of this living water "will never thirst" for the reasons of his existence in this world, or for the answers about where he will be after his death. Recognising God's facts concerning our redemption through His Son, in a true an honest manner, establishes an inner peace which "surpasses all comprehension," (Philippians 4:7) and lasts for eternity. (2 Corinthians 13:5, 6, Hebrews 10:39) God has guaranteed that :

In addition to the satisfying of man's thirst, water is also used in Scripture to allude to God's provision for us to be washed and rid of the stain of sin. To understand more clearly the correlation between physical washing and being cleaned spiritually, it is necessary to examine the reason why we need to be cleansed before entering eternity with God.
God is purely Himself, having no form of corruption. He is in every place, simultaneously knowing all things, and He has all power to do His will. God is so pure, holy, and clean from sin that He can not have iniquity, in any form, in His presence. When God created man with the ability to make independent decisions, this allowed for the possibility of man choosing to disregard Him, which Adam and Eve demonstrated as explained in the third chapter of the book of Genesis. Choosing to disregard God is essentially the definition for sin, and it is this sin which stains us and puts a barrier between God and ourselves; a holy God can not tolerate sin. When we think of ourselves in comparison to so holy and pure a One as He, we can relate to the words found recorded by the prophet Isaiah :
"For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities,
like the wind, take us away." (Isaiah 64:6)

The Jew's definition for being unclean in the context of the Old Testament law meant that certain physical requirements had to be fulfilled before one was considered "clean" again as outlined in the book of Leviticus. In this system, however, it was possible for one to, after performing the necessary rituals and waiting the prescribed time periods, become "unclean" again. When the Lord Jesus changed the water into wine at the wedding in Cana, (John 2:1-11) He had the stone waterpots associated with the Jewish custom of purification filled with water. When He changed this water, associated with ritual, into wine, associated with joy, He was picturing the change that was soon to take place, when all men would be purified through Him. In the New Testament, in the apostle Paul's letter to the church in Rome, we find thoughts similar to those previously quoted in Isaiah :
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that
both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written,

When one has washed, it is because he realised that he was dirty and then went to a source of water. We find, then, that it is essential to recognise that all are sinners descended from Adam, and that all must exercise their will to accept God's terms to be cleansed through His Son. Even though the problem of sin in Isaiah's day was not addressed as it is today, Isaiah's realisation as well as Paul's words (quoted from the Psalms) still have much to do with our understanding of salvation; they draw attention to the fact that there is nothing in sinful man worthy of God's attention, and that God could have rightfully annihilated the human race once Adam demonstrated the rebellious nature of humanity. Despite our helpless, ungodly, and sinful nature, and even though we were enemies against our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ came for the specific purpose to amend our ruined relationship with God. (Romans 5:6-10)
We learn from the our Lord's words to Nicodemus that God has a great affection for us. He sent His only Son to die and provide a way, for who would believe this, to be with Him forever. (John 3:16)
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;
that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word..."
(Ephesians 5:25,26)

In the Lord's statement to the woman in Samaria, He says, "whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him..." The living water offered by our Lord is a gift, requiring a decision by all to whom this gift is offered to either take or refuse it. (Romans 6:23) Note that the Bible is clear concerning "good works" and their irrelevance to man's initial salvation in these passages which reinforce the fact that it is the Lord's work on the cross alone, not our works, which truly cleans us before God :
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
not as a result of works, that no one should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9)
"...who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us
in Christ Jesus from all eternity,..." (2 Timothy 1:9)
"He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness,
but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,..." (Titus 3:5)

These verses state that we are saved because of God's grace, according to His purpose and mercy, and by a "washing of regeneration." This living water truly revives and regenerates those who were once "dead in trespasses and sins," and now have been "washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 2:1,2, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) When God looks at one who drinks His gift of living water, He no longer sees that person as being stained in sin. It was the Messiah who took on this sin of ours while He was on the cross. God put the blame on Him instead of us. Our Lord, who was without sin, "rendered Himself as a guilt offering" (Isaiah 53:10) and became sin in our stead. (Isaiah 53:4-6, 2 Corinthians 5:21) As a result, God now sees His people as ones who have been cleaned and "washed in the blood of the Lamb," His Son. (Revelation 7:14) The "washing of water with the word" referred to previously in Ephesians 5:26 ties in with this; the word is God's word, the Bible, and can also refer to the Messiah. He is essentially God's Word or communication to man. (John 1:14-18, 14:9)
Water is also used in the Bible in the symbolism of baptism. True baptism, as practised in the early church, is meant to be a public showing that the one being baptised has made a decision to relate himself with the death and resurrection of the Lord. (Romans 6:3, Colossians 2:12) There is no miraculous power in the physical event of a baptism to save one's soul, for salvation is to have taken place before one is baptised; one can not choose to respond in obedience to something that he does not understand. This is the reason why no Scriptures will be found pertaining to the baptising of infants, for the correct order is to first believe, and then be baptised. (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 8:36,37, 16:31-33, 18:8)
Baptism, defined in its original Greek, means "to make whelmed" or "fully wet" and also "to cover wholly with a fluid," "stain," or "dip." This is the way baptism was practised in the New Testament; sprinkling or other methods are the inventions of man, and are not found in Scripture. Upon acknowledging the significance of the Lord's death and resurrection for themselves, those who were obedient followed His command and went to the nearest river, lake, or sea and were immersed. This publicly and symbolically confessed their faith. Paul clarifies the symbolism of baptism and how it links all believers with the Lord's death and resurrection in his Galatian letter : "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me." (Galatians 2:20)
Through the waters of baptism, then, one experiences a physical immersion in water which he may then use as a reference to understand and display that which has taken place within him spiritually. When the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, He removed our sin. In essence, this means that we died with Him, for we were all formerly full of sin. Now, through Him, we become dead to sin. The Lord's rising again on the third day pictures our resurrection, which has taken place spiritually (Ephesians 1:3, 2:4-6) but not yet physically. (1 John 3:2) One of the apostles, Peter, makes an interesting correlation between the waters of the great flood (Genesis 6-8) and baptism :
"...in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you - not the removal of dirt from the flesh,
but an appeal to God for a good conscience - through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,..."
(1 Peter 3:20,21)

Salvation is not from physical baptism, but from the spiritual. The "appeal to God" quoted above requires accepting His gift of "living water" which will satisfy our thirst and clean us before Him forever. To do this, one needs to acknowledge God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the One who suffered the penalty for us which we never could have suffered ourselves.
On the cross, the innate sin of all mankind was totally eradicated in God's sight, in one act, at one point in history. We must look back, in faith, to our Lord's sacrifice and realise that this event has more effect on us than anything else which has ever taken place. Our relationship with God is changed through the Lord's death and resurrection, because through the understanding and accepting of this act of God's love, we are washed, cleaned, and able to abide with Him for all eternity. It is this relationship between The Lord Jesus Christ and ourselves which we recognise before undergoing our physical baptism, which shows forth the spiritual death and resurrection common to all who are His :
"Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin." (Romans 6:4-7)

"The Lord has made everything for its own purpose..." (Proverbs 16:4)
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