What does blood and water symbolize in the Bible? (Symbolism and meaning)

Blood and water are quite symbolic in our day-to-day lives. Personally, I view blood and water with a lot of importance as they are key to our survival. Additionally, being a born-again Christian, these two hold a special meaning in my life. Jesus, the son of God, was baptized with water and shed blood while praying to God. However, what I have never really thought about is the intensive meaning of blood and water as portrayed in the Bible. So, what does blood and water symbolize in the Bible?

In the Bible, blood and water are associated with cleansing and atonement for sin. In the Old Testament, the priests had to offer animal sacrifices for anyone who committed sin. The shedding of blood symbolized forgiveness. On the other hand, baptism, which was done by water, symbolized cleansing and purification from sins (Mathew 28:19-20).

I invite you to join me as I discuss intensively what blood and water symbolize in the Bible. I will talk about what the Bible says about blood and water and what the images of blood and water symbolize. Keep reading to learn more.

What does the Bible say about blood and water?

The Bible has a lot to say about blood and water. The concept of blood is central to various aspects of biblical teaching, including atonement for sin and the covenant between God and His people. In the Old Testament, animal sacrifices were offered to symbolize the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sins (Leviticus 17:11).

In the New Testament, the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ is emphasized as the ultimate atonement for the sins of humanity. Jesus referred to His blood as the “blood of the covenant” during the Last Supper (Matthew 26:28). Additionally, Apostle Paul frequently highlights the significance of Jesus’ blood, stating that believers are justified and redeemed by His blood (Romans 5:9). In Ephesians 1:7, Paul continues and states that we have been set free through Jesus’ blood. Therefore, the blood in the Bible represents the cleansing power, signifying forgiveness and reconciling us with God.

On the other hand, water is often associated with purification, cleansing, and new life in the Bible. In the Old Testament, water was used for ceremonial cleansing, such as in the ritual of baptism or in the washing of hands and feet. In the New Testament, water is connected to the sacrament of baptism. Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize believers in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Mathew 28:19-20). As portrayed in the Bible, baptism symbolizes spiritual cleansing and repentance.

Water is also linked to the concept of being born again or born of the Spirit. Jesus told Nicodemus that one must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). This signifies the spiritual rebirth and transformation that occurs through faith in Christ.

What was the symbolic meaning of blood in the Bible?

What does blood and water symbolize in the Bible? 
Symbolic meaning of blood in the Bible. Image source: Pixabay

In the Bible, blood carries significant symbolic meaning and is mentioned in various contexts throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Some of the symbolic meanings of blood, as portrayed in the Bible, include;

Life: Blood is closely associated with life. Leviticus 17:11 notes that life is found in the blood. Therefore, the shedding of blood is often viewed as the pouring out of one’s life force.

Forgiveness: In the Old Testament, blood is associated with the forgiveness of sins. The high priest in the Tabernacle and later the Temple would offer animal sacrifices, sprinkling the blood on the altar. The blood of the sacrificed animals served as a symbol of cleansing and reconciliation with God. On the other hand, the New Testament notes that it is through the blood of Jesus that our sins are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7).

Symbolizes a covenant: Blood is also associated with the sealing of covenants and agreements. In the book of Exodus, when Moses ratified the covenant between God and the Israelites, he sprinkled blood on the people and noted that that is the blood of the covenant that God had made with them (Exodus 24:8).

Salvation: In the New Testament, the shedding of Jesus’ blood is seen as an act of salvation. Jesus referred to his blood as the “blood of the covenant” during the Last Supper, connecting it to the eternal forgiveness of sins (Mathew 26:26-28). The crucifixion of Jesus and the shedding of his blood are seen as the ultimate sacrifice, providing salvation and eternal life to believers.

Sanctification: The author of the book of 1 John 1:7 notes that if we walk in light just like Christ is in light, then we have to fellowship with each other as the blood of Jesus Christ purifies and cleanses us from all sins.

Guilt: Blood has also been used in the Bible symbolically to describe those who are guilty of killing (Mathew 23:35).

Revenge: Blood has also been used symbolically in the scripture to signify vengeance. After Cain killed Abel, Cain heard the voice of the Lord talking to him and questioning what he had done. God noted that he heard the voice of Abel from the ground, signifying that Abel wants justice to be served (Genesis 4:10).

What is the symbolic meaning of water in the Bible?

Water is mentioned severally in the Bible and holds rich symbolic meaning. Some of the symbolic meanings associated with water include;

Purification: Water is frequently used as a symbol of cleansing and purification. In the Old Testament, rituals involving water, such as ceremonial washings and the sprinkling of water, were performed for purification purposes (Leviticus 16:4).

Healing: Water is also associated with healing in the scripture. When Naaman was sick of leprosy, he was instructed to go and shower in River Jordan to receive healing (2 Kings 5:1-4).

New Life and Rebirth: Water is often connected to the newness of life and rebirth. In the New Testament, Jesus spoke of being born again through water and the Spirit (John 3:5), emphasizing the transformative power of God’s grace. Additionally, baptism, which involves immersing one in water, is a symbolic act representing a believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, signifying a new life in Him.

Spiritual nourishment: Water is essential for physical sustenance, and in the Bible, it is used metaphorically to represent spiritual nourishment. In John 4:14, Jesus refers to Himself as the “living water,” which satisfies the spiritual thirst of those who believe in Him. Jesus also associates water with the Spirit of God. When talking about the Spirit of God in the book of John 3:37-39, Jesus notes that whoever believes in Him (has the Holy Spirit), out of his heart, will flow living waters.

Eternal life: Water has also been used in the Bible to symbolize eternal life. In his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus tells the woman that if he drinks of him, he will have gained the living water and will never thirst again (John 4:5-30). Top of Form

What is the significance of blood and water flowing from Jesus’ side?

What does blood and water symbolize in the Bible?
Significance of blood and water flowing from Jesus’ side. Image source: Pixabay

According to John 19:34, during Jesus’ crucifixion, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and blood came out. This verse holds several significances and symbolisms in Christianity as there are different interpretations of what the blood and water that came from Jesus’ side could signify. A common interpretation of this verse is that it was a physical confirmation of Jesus’ death. In medicine, the separation of blood and water is often associated with a body that has undergone physical trauma and death. This event serves as proof that Jesus truly died on the cross.

Some Christian traditions see the blood and water as a sign of the sacraments of the Church. They view the blood as the Eucharist (Holy Communion), which is believed to be the body and blood of Christ. The water is said to represent the sacrament of baptism, which signifies purification and the new birth in Christ. Additionally, the blood and water from Jesus’ side are sometimes understood as symbols of the salvation and grace offered to humanity through his death. The blood represents the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, shedding his blood for the forgiveness of sins, and the water represents the cleansing and purification of the soul through baptism.

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What do the images of blood and water symbolize?

The symbolism of the images of blood and water varies depending on different cultures and the context. Some of the symbolisms that are associated with the image of blood include;

  • Life: Blood is often seen as the essence of life, representing energy, vitality, and the life force flowing within living beings.
  • Passion and emotion: Blood can symbolize intense emotions, desires, and passions, particularly when associated with themes like love, desire, or anger.
  • Sacrifice: Blood can be connected to the idea of sacrifice or offering, often representing the shedding of blood for a greater cause or as a means of redemption.
  • Death: Blood is associated with wounds, injury, and mortality, representing the fragility of life and the aftermath of violence or death.

On the other hand, some of the symbolisms associated with the image of water are:

  • Cleansing: The image of water, even in the Bible, is associated with cleansing and purification, representing renewal, washing away impurities, and starting afresh.
  • Emotional depth and intuition: Water can symbolize the realm of emotions, intuition, and subconsciousness, reflecting its fluid and reflective nature.
  • Change: Water is frequently connected to the concept of change, adaptability, and transition, as it can take various forms (liquid, solid, vapor) and has the power to erode or reshape landscapes.
  • Spiritual elements: Images of water can also hold various spiritual and religious significance. Water often represents the divine, purity, and transcendence. It is often linked to rituals like baptism or acts of purification.

What is the meaning of “water and blood” in 1 John 5:6?

In 1 John 5:6, the phrase “water and blood” refers to two significant elements in relation to Jesus Christ. The verse states that Jesus did not come by water alone, but by water and blood, and only the Joly Spirit can testify of Him because the Holy Spirit is the truth. The meaning of “water and blood” in this context has been interpreted in various ways by scholars and theologians throughout history.

Some interpret “water” as a reference to Jesus’ baptism, which marked the beginning of his public ministry, and “blood” as a reference to his crucifixion, which represents his sacrificial death. This interpretation emphasizes the key events in Jesus’ life and their significance. Others view “water” as a representation of Jesus’ physical birth, highlighting his humanity, while “blood” represents his sacrificial death on the cross. Another interpretation links “water” to Jesus’ incarnation, representing his coming into the world, and “blood” to his atoning sacrifice, highlighting the redemption and forgiveness of sins through his death.

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