What Does Water Symbolize In The Bible?

Water is of great significance not just in the Bible, but also in our day to day lives. It represents life, refreshment, fertility, and birth. In the Christian context, there are many correlations involving water. Biblical stories such as Jesus changing water into wine, baptism, and other occurrences serve to emphasize the spiritual and physical significance of water.

Going into specific cases supported by scripture, water has been shown to signify lots of spiritual events (similarly to the rain symbolism). Read on to learn more about what does water symbolize in the bible.

Water As The Word Of God

water as the word of god

The prophet Ezekiel in the Book of Ezekiel 36:25 says of God:

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.” (NIV)

In this and many other passages, water symbolizes the word of God because of its power to cleanse Christians from their guilt and sin. In some verses of scripture, water has been mentioned with some mystery behind as in 1 John 5:7-9 where the Bible talks of the spirit, the water, and the blood. This is often interpreted as the tri-fold work of God in salvation.

Water As Eternal Life

In a conversation with the Samaritan woman by the well, Jesus tells her as recorded in:

“Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (NIV).

Here, Jesus refers to the water that He is to give the woman as the living water, and He goes ahead to say He is the source of that water which springs up to eternal life.

In Revelation 22:1, the Bible talks of the river of the water of life that flows from the throne of God. This is a description of eternity.

The Spirit Of God

Water has been used figuratively in various verses of scripture to refer to the Spirit of God. In John 7:37-39 Jesus gave a prophecy about the Spirit that would later come and referred to him as the living water. Following through scripture, we come to see that on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit would be poured upon the church to empower the members to go forth and make disciples.

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive” (NKJV).

A Symbol Of Spiritual Things

Lots of passages in the Word have drawn a correlation between water and spiritual things. For instance, in Isaiah 8:6-7, the Bible talks of the waters that go softly. “Inasmuch as these people refused the waters of Shiloah that flow softly and rejoice in Rezin and in Remaliah’s son; 7 Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings up over them the waters of the River, strong and mighty” (NKJV).

Here a contrast is drawn between the waters that go softly which refer to spiritual things and the waters strong and many that denote falsities.

Difficulties

waters and rivers as symbols of falsities and difficulties

The prophet Jeremiah in the Book of Jeremiah 2:18 talks of waters and rivers as symbols of falsities and difficulties:

“And now why take the road to Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or why take the road to Assyria, to drink the waters of the River?” (NKJV)

Both the water of Sihor and the waters of the River are used symbolically to portray the falsities from reasonings that people were departing to. While there was an option for people to follow the right way, God through Jeremiah points out the folly in their thinking.

Therefore, water has a special place in the Bible and the lives of Christians. It symbolizes many things some of which are of great value to the spiritual journey of faith.

Sam Ellis
Sam is a founder and editor of Catholics & Bible. In personal life he is a proud father of a boy and twin girls. He believes it is more important than ever before to help people find a genuine faith. Living a life dedicated to God makes as much sense as the sunshine in our world.

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