This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 1 John 5:6-8
The first time I read this, I closed my Bible and walked away, thinking, I have no idea what that means.
The second time I read it, I didn’t close my Bible or walk away, but I couldn’t get rid of the nagging panic that I didn’t have any clue where to start with these verses.
When I researched these passages to try to see what other people thought, a lot of them disagree, or flat out admit that they just aren’t sure. Even among people who study the Bible for a living, there is very little solid agreement on what these passages are supposed to mean.
The only place for me to start then, is with the things we know.
We have been talking about the theme of evidence throughout the book of First John, and there is no wavering from that theme here. John says that “there are three that testify.” To testify means to speak evidence of something, which appears that John is once again, trying to show us proof or convince us of something that he’s trying to say.
The natural place I go to is a story from John’s Gospel about John the Baptist. (Because again, we’ve seen that John often writes in his letters about the things that he witnessed, which are recorded in his Gospel.)
John is baptizing people before Jesus arrives on the scene, but tells them over and over that he is only baptizing with water, helping people repent of their sins, but someone else is coming to save them, someone who will baptize them with more than water, but with the Holy Spirit.
In John 1:33, he says, “I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’”
Here we see references also to the water and the Spirit, similar to John’s letters. Many think that the “blood” refers to Jesus’s dying on the cross, giving his own life. John tells us that these three things are proof that Jesus is God, and that they agree, or that they tell the same story.
All of these things, the water, the Spirit, and the blood are meant to point us to the truth: that Jesus loves us and gave his life for us. That he is the Son of God.
These three are all concepts that we interact with in normal, every day life. We need water, we have blood, and the Spirit lives inside us. I love the way that God put these three things that are his proof of a Living God all around us. He is saying that the evidence that Jesus is God isn't far away, or symbols that we never see- they are every day reminders that He is near.
I pray that we would reflect on these truths more in our quiet time with the Lord and that he would reveal to us, individually, how these things are meant to show us God's truth. Would we be bold and willing to sit and listen, to ask God questions about the water, the Spirit and the blood and then wait for the answers.