Born of Water

Nicodemus Visiting Jesus
by Henry Ossawa Tanner

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. ” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” John 3:1‭-‬15 

Ah Nicodemus.  I think he would have been a kindred spirit had we overlapped on this earth.  He seems to be a curious but conflicted man that is earnestly seeking answers.  I aspire to be a similar God seeker.  Nicodemus confesses that Jesus is who He says He is “For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him”. 

Jesus clarifies what this God following will look like.  It is will require a radical reentering of the womb, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”  This idea of being born again has gotten a bad rap in popular culture.  It has been equated with evangelicals who some consider radical.  Nicodemus places this very radical statement, that we can born again, into an earthly construct, that of earthly birth, “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

The “womb” that Jesus was speaking of was a spiritual place not a physical place within the body of a woman.  He is speaking of the spiritual secret place from which all spirits come, and from which we are all transplants for a time here in this land of oblivion.  He is describing a choice that we all have to be spiritually reborn, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.”  It is interesting that Jesus links spiritual rebirth with being born of water.  I assume He is referring to the redemption through water baptism that John was preaching and new wine that He is bringing through his life and sacrifice.

This being born of he spirit that Jesus is talking about comes with a new ability to predict and react to spirit squalls. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”  So Nicodemus is looking for wisdom and meaning and he finds something much bigger.  Jesus is speaking plainly of heavenly things.  He is providing Nicodemus with a window between to earthly world of wombs into the spiritual world of spirit and light

The the story takes a somewhat confusing twist when Jesus says “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”  The reference is the Numbers 21:8-9 “The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.”  Jesus was using this analogy between Moses and physical healing from snake bites and spiritual sickness and healing which will come about through Him.

Interestingly, right after the passage in Numbers about snakes and Moses healing people from snake bites God turns to matters of grace when he says “Gather the people together and I will give them water.” (Numbers 21:16).  Jesus is here to provide Living Water to Nicodemus and all curious God seekers who have come after him.

Prayer: God teach about the spiritual places in our lives and help us to seek You with all our hearts.

 

This entry was posted in baptism, Born again, Christianity, Covenant, Following God, Forgiveness, God's Love for Us, Holy Spirit, Jesus, John, Love for the Lost, Obedience, Redemption, The Nature of God, The Spiritual Realm, Trusting God and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Born of Water

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