It is a Sunday afternoon as I sit at the computer to sort through thoughts the Lord has placed in my heart and mind. This morning we attended church at the beach with the family of our daughter and son-in-law as our grandson was water baptized. Before the baptism, in the morning service, we all shared in communion. While looking out over the water of Lake Ontario, both sacraments of baptism and communion were observed – and that got me thinking. I was thinking about water with baptism and about wine, or blood, with communion.
The wedding at Cana was the setting of Jesus’ first miracle. Jesus turned water into wine when the wine supply was depleted. This miracle is recorded in John 2:1-11. In verse 7, Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And then in verse 9, the headwaiter tasted the liquid and discovered that the water had become the best wine of the wedding celebration. When Jesus transformed the water into wine, I believe He was expressing more than His power to perform this task. Symbolically throughout scripture, water represents cleansing and wine represents the blood. Three years later after this miracle, Jesus would pay the price for our cleansing from sin by shedding His own blood. I think Jesus was setting the prophetic stage to reveal His earthly purpose when He turned water into wine.
Now I look at the account of Jesus’ death while hanging on the cross of crucifixion in John 19:28-37. At the end of the day when Jesus was crucified, verse 34 says, “one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.” Another connection of water and wine! This time, blood is the wine of the wedding at Cana. The fact that both liquids flowed from Jesus’ side confirmed that he was really dead. Medically, Jesus experienced hypovolemic shock that caused fluid to gather in the sack around the heart and lungs causing both blood and water to come from His side when the Roman soldier thrust a spear into His side. In Matthew Henry’s commentary, he points out that both blood and water had an important meaning in the law and represented justification and sanctification. Blood was for remission and water was for regeneration; blood was for atonement and water was for purification. Both blood and water represent the sacrifice of Jesus’ life. From Jesus’ side flowed water and blood to offer us eternal life. Still today, there is power in the redeeming blood and regenerating water that sustain the believers in Christ. This is what we celebrate as we partake of the bread and wine, or grape juice, when observing communion. I think Jesus was foreshadowing this through His first miracle.
I think back further into the Old Testament scriptures when God gave Moses instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle in Exodus 25-27. The Tabernacle was a picture of the way to come into the presence of God. In The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread, Richard Booker points out that in reality, the Tabernacle was pointing to Jesus Christ who would be the real Tabernacle. Just inside the gate was the brazen altar where the blood of animals was sacrificed. Then behind the altar was the laver where washing and cleansing took place. Both of these actions had to be carried out before the priest could enter the veil into the Holy Place. Blood and water were connected in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament.
Water turned into wine by Jesus. Water and blood flowed from the side of Jesus crucified. Water baptism and communion. Common elements with uncommon significance. Sacred symbolism evident within the two sacraments of the Christian church. As our grandson and the others being baptized went under the waters of baptism, they were washed with water while acknowledging that Jesus washed away their sins with His blood. Also, when all of us observed communion, we came together to celebrate that Jesus’ body was broken and His blood was shed for us. This morning I was enlightened by the connection between water and blood – and I am thankful to God for His revelation.