Blood and Water: The Point of the Spear

In the writings of John the Apostle, it was important to him that the concept of
blood and water be communicated to his fellow 1st Century Jewish believers.  Both elements had tremendous significance in Judaism. 

Blood and water both came out of Jesus side after he died on the cross.  The separation of water from blood in Jesus body was due to the flogging and scourging he endured prior to being nailed onto the wooden beam.

Hypovolemic Shock

Physiologically, the body goes into hypovolemic shock from the beating of the flagrum whip.  Many criminals did not survive the Roman scourging as a great loss of blood from the whip causes the heart to race and pump fluid that is no longer there.  The kind of flogging that Jesus endured resulted in low blood pressure, great thirst, and a shutdown of the kidneys.  The hypovolemic shock was so severe in Jesus’ case that a man named Simon had to be enlisted to carry Jesus’ cross beam to the northern end of Jerusalem, outside the Damascus gate.

At its conclusion before death, hypovolemic shock causes the plasma (55% of the blood, composed of 90% water) water contained in human blood to gather in the lungs (pleural effusion).

A Roman soldier pierced Jesus side after Jesus stopped breathing.  The piercing of his lung revealed the suffering Jesus had endured at the scourging post in the Jerusalem prison along with the painful fatigue his body resisted as he gasped for air on the cross.

John 19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

Living Water

On earth, water is the most important resource next to air to sustain LIFE.  In Judaism, water is a typology of the Spirit of God providing both physical sustenance and ritual cleansing of the worshiper.  In the historical Levitical ritual of cleansing, it was important that ‘running water’, also called ‘living water’, be used in ritual baths (mikvah, pool of Siloam, running water of Qumran).  Further, other pools of living water (pool of Bethesda) were set aside for ‘healing of the sick and infirm’ while awaiting a stirring of the water by God or an angel (John 5:1-7).

Ceremonial Cleansing

In the Temple ritual for sanctifying the healing and cleansing of a leper, a sacrificial bird’s blood had to be put into living water, then a living bird was dipped in the mixture to provide ritual atonement and ceremonial cleansing of the unclean leper.  Once accomplished, the leper was readmitted back into the community (Leviticus 14:1-7, Matthew 8:2-4, Luke 17:12-19).

Waters of Heaven

In examining the Hebrew word for water, mahyim, we find it as the root word for heaven, shamahyim.  On the 2nd day of creation (Genesis 1:6-10), we find that God makes a firmament (an expanse) that divides waters from waters and He calls this expanse ‘shamahyim’ or heaven.  So, we see that mahyim (waters) is connected to mahyim (waters) in the word shamahyim (heaven).  Looking at  scripture this way, we see the water connection between heaven and earth as a repetitive metaphor.

Life Springs

In the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, we find Hagar the Egyptian servant girl running away from Abraham’s family after being ostracized by her mistress.  The Bible locates her in the ‘desert of Shur’ (Northern Israel) where we find her next to a ‘fountain of water’, an artesian well.  This oasis of water is the place where an angelic messenger tells her that God cares about her, instructing her to return home.  Thus, a connection is made between the communication of God by Spirit (the Word) and mahyim (water).

Hagar names the well of water El-Roi (God of might sees my current situation and the future) where she is also informed by the angel that she is pregnant and that her son will become a great nation (Genesis 21:17).

Jesus upon encountering a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in a village near Shechem, asks her for a drink of water from the woman’s drawing container.  She is surprised that a Jew would ask a Samaritan for a drink of water since Jews view Samaritans as dogs, unclean and unfit to associate with.  Jesus avoids this issue and tells her that if she knew who he really was, that she would ask him for ‘living water’.  From that moment on, the conversation takes on a Spiritual tone and Jesus reveals her sins to her.

Thus we learn the point of this story:  a future cleansing of life-power will be given, the Holy Spirit of living water.  Jesus’ talk about ‘living water’ has a promise aspect to it.  Something incredible, a gift of God, would be coming in the near future to those who ask, even to the dogs of Samaria.

John 4:10  Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.


Sidebar:  Life in the Hebrew concept, always was related to the idea of the Spirit or ‘Breath’, whether God, Angel, or Human.  In the case of Angels and Humans, the source of LIFE was from God the creator.  In a way we accept but do not understand, the breath of life exists and resides in our human body.  It is so tightly connected to our physical existence and senses, it is considered ‘one’ or ‘fused’ with our body.  When our physical body decays through age, disease, or accident, a diffusive instability within us occurs and we die a death where the breath of life [Hebrew:  Chay, chayah] separates from the physical senses and returns to the One who gave it.  This bodily diffusion process is now well documented by researchers and has been called ‘Near Death Experience’. Many have been interviewed  who have experienced it and have returned back to their bodies. Could it be that the ‘breath of life’ is fused in human blood?  This would explain God’s antediluvian prohibition of shedding and eating blood.


Mixing/Fusing Blood into the Water

 Now note that the Holy Spirit was not given to anyone by Jesus until after His glorification (crucifixion) and resurrection.  Why?  Because there was no redemptive blood as yet to be put into the water of God’s Holy Spirit.

John 7:37-39  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  38  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  39  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

From the very beginning when the idea of ‘sacrifice of the innocent for atonement of the guilty’ arrived, the meaning was clear.  Sin in order to be cancelled and removed, must have something of greater value (innocence and substitutionary death) in order to make the payment to reverse it’s curse.  Until a sacrifice of greater quality arrives, a reversal of God’s ‘death law’ can only be made by substituting something of temporal value.  Therefore in the concept of atonement, LIFE must be given for LIFE, not guilty for guilty.  Only then can sin’s eternal consequences be removed and obliterated, cancelling God’s law of death.

If we go back to the Garden of Eden on through to Noah and the Law of Moses, we see a theme arise.  This theme says that the blood of bulls and goats could be used as a temporary atonement until a sinless qualified atonement was available.  From the Divine point  of view, a qualified atonement to reverse the ‘law of death’ must be a sinless man, personally willing to be the atonement
(as Isaac was willing on Moriah, Genesis 22:6-14).

Free Will Qualifies Innocent Blood

Note that human free will is a gift from God to mankind.  In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to ‘be willing’ to be the atoning sacrifice for mankind’s sinful dilemma.  Animals to be sacrificed are not willing, nor are they conscious of the meaning of atonement.

In the ancient garden of Eden, God Himself clothes the naked Adam and Eve with animal skins.  This sets the precedent of covering sin (not removing it) by the shedding of innocent animal blood. Later in history, Noah is instructed by God to bring 7 pairs of various clean animals onto the ark ship. God by this instruction to Noah, intends to ceremonially atone for the rampant sin of ‘shedding and eating blood’ that was abundant on the planet before the flood.

Notice the provision and foreknowledge of God by bringing clean animals onto the ark for sacrifice (Genesis 9:4-6). But the blood of clean and innocent animals is weak and only temporarily covers sin.  It doesn’t remove the curse of sin permanently because ‘free will’ is not involved. Something better, more worthy, was required to reverse and eradicate sin.  What was needed was a willing sinless sacrifice, innocent and full of love for lost humanity.

Physical Creation Designed for Blood Sacrifice

In the realm of Heaven, Life is eternal and cannot experience death. By definition, a sacrifice means death, an impossibility in the Spiritual domain.  Thus, we discover the purpose for the time realm of creation and earth.  In the time dimension, death is possible.  If death is possible, then so is atonement for sin.  Now that is foreknowledge!


Sidebar: Atonement is defined as reconciliation of two parties who are estranged. Blood became the agent of atonement, permitting God to live near humans who are trapped in a sinful state. In the case of Noah, God uses water to destroy sinners but blood to atone for sin on an earth marred by violence and chaos.  In atonement, the payment for the sin is done by suffering the loss of blood, life itself.  


In the time realm, LIFE is found in the blood of animals and humans.  Science considers blood the connecting link and sustaining organ for all tissue in the human body.  In scripture, it is forbidden to shed blood or to eat blood.  Why?  Because the LIFE of flesh is in the blood and LIFE is sacred.

God said it this way.

Leviticus 17:11-14 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. 12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. 13 And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. 14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.

Each human being has about 5 pints of blood circulating in the body.  Human blood has unique healing qualities and structure not present in animal blood and therefore, transfusions of blood between humans and animals is impossible.

Human Spirit Mixed/Fused with Divine Spirit

Humans like God Himself, also have an eternal Spirit that is somehow fused in the fleshly body.  People, unlike animals, therefore qualify as Elohim (eternal Spiritual beings) and are a higher order of God’s creation.  When a human dies, only the flesh and blood cease to exist, but the Elohim spirit in humans lives on eternally.  [See my article, ‘The Name’ for the proper understanding of the Hebrew word Elohim and YHWH and the association of God’s name with the ‘breath of life’]

Since the concept of LIFE is linked to both blood and spirit, we can say that ‘LIFE is in the blood’; ‘LIFE is in the Spirit’.  That is, LIFE/LIVING, [Greek:  Zoe/Zao, Hebrew: Chay/Chayah] is found in the temporal (limited days of a lifetime, blood) and the eternal (perpetual Spirit of God, living water).  Forever, water, blood, and spirit are Biblically at the root of the idea of LIFE.

Consider now all the connections the scripture makes with these ideas and objects.

We see that the Spirit of the eternal God (water) is somehow blended, fused, or mixed into the human Spirit (blood) of the man Jesus Christ.  This is the mysterious incarnation of the ‘Word made flesh’ which causes us to stumble if we even try and describe it (1 Tim 3:16).

What is describable is that the ‘blood of Jesus’ was not of sufficient quality and worthiness until after he made the decision in Gethsemane to willingly lay down his temporal life and intercede for sinful humanity. This decision was challenged within the human nature of Jesus.  He struggled within himself to remain in the garden and await the temple guards and the abuse he knew was coming.  This was the payment of suffering Jesus decided to make.  Thus, Jesus had to pray until the ‘power of the eternal Spirit’ strengthened his ‘temporal flesh’.

Great drops of sweat like blood poured from his forehead during this battle, a prophetic metaphor of the result of his passion.   If Jesus was going to commit to what he knew was coming, he would need to crucify his own human desire to live and thus allow the purpose of God to come forward (to die and redeem).

 Like Jesus before us, each believer will find themselves wrestling with a giant,  ‘my will’.  Will the purpose of ‘God’s will’ win out when this conflict comes?

Jesus knew from the ‘Word of the Spirit’ that the choice was his alone, but the power to move his will forward was only within God.  Like his slumbering companions that good Friday evening (Jews begin their day at evening) in the garden, Jesus Spirit was willing even though his flesh was weaker.  Only prayer can bring the power to overcome our own will.  The temptation to circumvent God’s will is always available to us.

Jesus Free Will Decision in the Garden

For Jesus, temptation to avoid his life’s purpose was staring him in the face:  would it be continuing his life in the world or a cross of death in Jerusalem?  When the human flesh resists the Spirit, we need only be willing, not able.  Jesus prayed until the temptation of his human flesh to remain in the world was overcome and subdued by the power of God’s Spirit.

John 10:14-18  I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.  15  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.  16  And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.  17  Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  18  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Luke 22:41-44  And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,  42  Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.  43  And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.  44  And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Life in the Blood/Life in the Name

Now one more connection to ‘water and blood’ must be made. Scripture further tells us that ‘LIFE is found through the NAME of Jesus’ (John 20:31).  And that this name has been exalted by God above every other name in the heavenly and earthly realms.  What does this mean?  What is the connection with a name’s power/authority and Life?  Let’s start by discussing the purpose of a name and also what definition is given to the name of Jesus.

In the Old Testament, God progressively reveals Himself to those who want to find Him.  This disclosure or revelation of God is always accompanied by a ‘Word of Identification’.  This helps people remember God’s character, virtues, and attributes.  That word of identification is a name.

Some think they know someone because they know his or her name.  However,  you don’t really know someone until that person’s identity is revealed by their character traits and actions.  So let’s establish a few concepts about God and His identity.

First, the name to remember (the memorial name) is God’s personal name YHWH, which means

“God exists and is alive, God causes others to live and continuously generates them, and God gives this power to others He created to cause more others to exist”.

This name was verbally known to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, however, they did not understand the meaning of this name, as it had not been revealed to them.  In their worship of YHWH, the only definition of God’s name they were aware of was ‘El-shaddai’ which means

“The all powerful one is a destroyer of sin”.

Exodus 6:2-3  And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD [YHWH]:  3  And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty [El-shaddai], but by my name JEHOVAH [YHWH] was I not known to them.

Throughout the remainder of the Old Testament, worshipers gain more understanding and definition of God’s name and character traits.  However, the name of JESUS (Yeshua) was hidden in God.  This name is never found in the Old Testament writings.  The name of JESUS was never revealed to Israel until the crucifixion at Golgotha and at the verbal expression by Peter, who identified the ‘keys to the Kingdom’, Pentecost, 33 AD (Acts 2:38).

Here is an exhaustive list of God’s definitional explanations of His name YHWH as revealed to the Old Testament writers.  Please note that His name, titles, euphemisms, and morphemes all reveal His great character, virtues, attributes, properties, and essence (the Word).

Name of Life on the Cross of Blood

Since the Old Testament conceals the name of JESUS (the phrase YHWH-Yshua is absent) we won’t find it until it was revealed on Calvary at His crucifixion. On the placard Roman governor Pilate placed over Jesus’ head on the cross, the Word was revealed in 3 languages:  Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

John 19:19-22  And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.  20  This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.  21  Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.  22  Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

What is not noticed in the English translation of the New Testament is that the epithet title that Pilate wrote becomes an acrostic when the title is written in Hebrew.  Take a closer look and remember, Hebrew is read from right to left.

Now we see the full revelation of YHWH’s name, JESUS.  God is love and gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16, 1 John 4:16).  God provided the sacrifice, Himself manifest as a man.  Thus, we know that the Father’s name is fully revealed by the name of JESUS.

Name of Jesus Invoked During Water Baptism

Consider now that Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize using this name and Peter  obeyed, revealing the entrance ‘Keys to the Kingdom’(as did Philip and Paul Acts 8:12-16, Acts 19:2-6).

Now we see the total ‘Revelation of the Name’ of God, Jesus, being applied at conversion to Church life.

In water baptism, we put LIFE (blood) from the water when we invoke the name of JESUS for the remission (removal) of sins (Acts 2:38, 19:5, Acts 22:16).

We have now found water and blood [Name of Jesus] in Spirit baptism
(Acts 2:4, Romans 8:9) and the Name of Jesus [Blood in the Water] in water baptism.

It is now apparent why we find LIFE IN THE NAME.  The name has the blood, salvation, fully revealed in it and it is a worthy, glorified, qualified Name (John 12:28).

John 20:31  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

1 John 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Revelation 19:13  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Hebrews 9:22-23  And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.  23  It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Name of Jesus is the Blood that Cleanses Heaven

The scriptures above enlighten us that sacrifice, blood, and the name of the man Jesus have a purification quality that goes beyond the atonement of sinful humanity.  Jesus sacrifice, blood, and name actually cleansed the heavenly realm as well.  But this seems to defy reason.

When was the heavenly realm defiled and why does it need purification?  The answer is found in the fall of satan, the ‘worship angel’ created with full wisdom and beauty, but polluted by pride (Ezekiel 28:11-19).

Lucifer’s beauty and wisdom was an essence of God created by God to glorify God’s name.  But God found self exalting pride in him! Lucifer absorbed God’s worship and believed that he himself was better than the other angels, qualified to receive worship alongside God.  This desire for worship by the devil became the contaminant that polluted the Holy Place.  Some of the ‘Sons of God’ in the heavenly sanctuary got caught up in this delusion and rebelled against YHWH.  1/3 of the heavenly host fell (Rev 12:4), worshiped satan, then found themselves transgressing the law of heaven.

God alone is worthy of worship as He alone creates.  By definition, this is the central meaning of ‘ONE GOD’ and ‘HOLY NAME’.

The question became, how was God going to clean up the defiled ‘Holy Place’ in Heaven?  That was the secret hidden from the beginning.  That secret was revealed in the ‘Word made flesh’, the Blood of Jesus.

Hebrews 9:11-12  But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;  12  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption

Certainly heaven is not a physical place where blood can be physically manifested.  It is clear that Jesus appeared in the sanctuary of heaven with a ‘fully qualified and revealed name’, YHWH is SALVATION.  This is a name that is above every other name and is the only name given to mankind by which we MUST be saved.

Acts 4:10-12  Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.  11  This is the stone [ROCK] which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.  12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

I hope I have made it clearer why ‘LIFE IS IN THE NAME’ and why ‘Water and Blood’ are in the Spirit.

Now the conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus makes more sense.  To be ‘Born Again’, regenerated, made alive, we must be born of WATER [water baptism] and SPIRIT [Holy Spirit baptism].

John 3:3-5  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  4  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water
and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

The name of JESUS is so powerful in cleansing, that it can be used to cast unclean spirits out of houses they no longer have permission to dwell in.  This name is is also the ‘Word of Life’ and is used to heal the sick.  Every rebellious spirit will eventually bow to this exalted name (Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:10). In fact, everything we do as Christians should be done in the name of JESUS (Colossians 3:17).

Now the anthology of scripture becomes clear and why God brings our attention to the blood and water from the point of the spear in His side.

John 5:6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only,  but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

1 John 5:8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Exodus 4:9  And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.

1 John 5:12-13 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Acts 5:28  Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.

Hebrews 9:19  For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,

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