What Does Water Symbolize in Judaism?

The human body contains mostly water. As the person gets older, the percentage of water in the human body decreases.

If we consider water in Judaism, water represents the rate of mercy and grace. Therefore, from mystical Kabbalistic point of view, as a person grows older his natural tendency to be distracted by “background noise”, prejudice, and discrimination.

The person then formulates opinion and makes decisions about how to behave, what is right and what is wrong, and thus greatly reducing the degree of grace and mercy embedded inside him.

How is water used in Judaism?

There are so many references to water in the Hebrew Bible, and in the New Testament. I’m sure you like me wondered why does it focus so much on this one dimension of water.

We find many biblical references to the need for water to quench our thirst, to live, for life itself, and many references to water as sometimes a barrier an obstacle in our way, as in the case of the Red Sea when the Jewish people came there.

Water is often found in the context of purification, as the Bible says you shall immerse yourself in water and become pure. It wasn’t just any kind of water it had to be living water

Why is water important in Judaism?

Water is an element that has purity inside. The power of purifying equalized that, when a person wants to go to the “Mikveh”, to make themselves pure, for purity reasons.

The idea is, that water is like stepping into a Kabbalistic realm at the roots of reality, at the source of reality.

In that place you can actually turn around reality, you can make what was existed into something that’s totally different. I mean you can make miracles happen, you can you can change reality, because water has is an element, it’s also the lowest development’s, it goes and flows down to low places, it’s very humble in that way, but it’s also flowing, and it’s all interconnected, which you can’t say the same about rocks, or sand, or mountains, or trees. So, that interconnection is what turns you around from being a person of separateness to being a person of connectedness. That’s the best purification of water.

What does the mikvah symbolize?

The Torah teaches of how people would be purified by entrance into the mikveh, the ritual bath of water, and utensils would also be purified when they became impure.

There were a number of properties and laws pertaining to a mikvah ritual bath. It must be living water, in other words it should come from the sky, a river, rain water are perfect forms of water for a mikvah that is built into the ground.

There are dozens of these ritual baths in Israel desert area, and cording to the Dead Sea Scrolls the people in the community would immerse themselves twice a day in this ritual bath, because of their desire for purification and in fact it is in this environment, this desert that water assumed the dimension of resurrection, of rebirth because it was in the desert that the water can bring life.

Christianity picked up this idea naturally, because Jesus was a Jew, John the Baptist was a Jew, and they were engaging in purification in reconciliation with God.

 Christianity added one dimension that Judaism did not have, and that is the living water became symbolic and synonymous with the holy spirit, and that is something that has profound meaning and Christianity.

These are just some of the meanings of water in both our traditions, but what’s very clear is that even though the term baptism is a Greek one in reality it is very Jewish, it is something that Christianity adopted, that is rooted in the Jewish tradition from where Christianity sprung.