Saturday, October 5, 2019

Understanding John 3:5 In Light Of The Prophet Ezekiel's Comments On Getting A New Heart

"Ezekiel 36:22–38 is the likeliest background for Jesus’ teaching on the need to be born of water and the Spirit. In this text, Ezekiel refers to the cleansing that Israel would receive after going through the Babylonian exile. The people would be purified and receive new hearts that would obey the Lord. In fact, the exile from the Promised Land proved that such a renewal would be necessary. In like manner, our exile from paradise in Adam proves our need for purification and renewal. Water is an image that represents this cleansing."


  1. Hi Jesse,

    Water is certainly a symbol for the “washing” of the believer in many Scripture verses, but I’ve always seen the context of John 3:1-12 as Jesus contrasting the physical and the spiritual.

    In this case, water seems to be paralleled with the amniotic fluid in natural birth (v. 4 and 6). We all experience this particular birth, but Jesus is telling Nicodemus that he needs more than that – he needs a spiritual birth. And He chides Nicodemus because he is a teacher among the Jews, yet, he doesn’t seem to understand this.

    Again, I believe that Ezekiel and many others who use the metaphor of being “cleansed by water” are symbolically speaking of regeneration. But in the case of John 3, I believe the water is used differently.

  2. Russell,

    No, there is no hint of analogy with amniotic fluid. "Born again" is literally "born from above," i.e. regeneration by the Holy Spirit, symbolized by water.

    I sincerely doubt if you will find a solid commentator agreeing with your comparison/metaphor regarding amniotic fluid.