In the first three chapters of the Gospel of John, water and the Holy Spirit take a back seat only to Jesus. Chapter one describes John the Baptist baptizing with water for the forgiveness of sin. He tells inquiring Jewish leaders that one among them, whom they do not recognize, will baptize with the Holy Spirit. John himself admits, “And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’’’(John 1:33 NIV) Jesus is revealed as, “The Lamb of God,” when John sees the Spirit descend like a dove upon Him
Chapter two begins at a wedding feast with thirsty guests drinking all the wine. Jesus orders their water jars used for ceremonial cleansing to be filled with water. Wine tasting reached new heights when the cleansing water is changed to the best-tasting wine of the feast. Please ponder the point that Jesus came to cleanse us inside and out. I believe this wine represents the new covenant that tastes better that the old.
Jesus left the wedding celebration but continued the cleansing process in the temple. After Jesus upset business for the day, the Jews asked Him for a sign. Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19 NIV). Void of the Holy Spirit, these men could only say something like, “It took 46 years to build this temple and you are going to do this in 3 days?”
Spiritual truth is not understood by a carnal mind. You see the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. (John 2:21, 22 NIV)
Nicodemus the Pharisee visits Jesus in chapter three, and Jesus tells him that in order to see the Kingdom of God he must be “born again.” Nicodemus’s mind went dark as the night and 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. (John 3:5, 6 NIV)
I believe the water mentioned here is from a mother’s womb. Others think it refers to the waters of baptism. Both could be correct. Nevertheless, spiritual birth must occur in order to have eternal life.
The chapter ends with Jesus and His disciples baptizing more people than John the Baptist. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, John’s reaction was to tell his disciples, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30 NIV)
I believe John never forgot what the Spirit had revealed to him – that Jesus is the Messiah.
Experiential knowledge of who Jesus is makes it easy to recognize Him above all. Pray for the Holy Spirit to bring revelation as you read and experience the cleansing this water and the Holy Spirit represent.