Holy water is now one of the hottest selling items on TV and the Internet, but does the Bible mention holy water?
Every believer is commanded to be baptized after they are saved, with the understanding that the water doesn’t save them. There’s no special power in water or special waters that are blessed to make them holy, and after examining the Bible, I found the Scriptures silent about holy water. There is much to say about water, and nothing about holy water, not to mention using it for special purposes. The Apostle Peter told the believers on the Day of Pentecost that they must “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). We are made holy when God brings us to repentance and faith in Christ. At the point we put our trust in Christ, we’ve received the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor 5:17). This regeneration makes us into a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), but every believer is commanded to be baptized. There are few exceptions. One example was where a man we met in our nursing home ministry was saved and wanted to be baptized, but he was too weak to be raised and lifted into the water, so we just poured a small amount of water on the man’s forehead three times in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. At age 95 he finally put his trust in Christ and wanted to be baptized…and right away, and who could blame him, but every believer is commanded to be baptized, but with the understanding that the water is not holy. We are made holy by the shed blood of Christ, not by water.
When I did my research about holy water, over 130 million search results popped up, so I hardly knew where to begin. There was “Authentic” holy water from the Jordan River (as if this water was holier than other water). It was about ten bucks for a touch over 3 ounces, but there was also “Purifying” holy water, and naturally it was from the Jordan River, so what is so special about the Jordan River waters? The answer is nothing! Water is water. Water cannot be holy nor can water be unholy. There is not holy water and then secular water. There is just plain water. Paying almost ten dollars for 0.3 ounces of “holy water” from one seller, even if it was from the River Jordan, seemed over the top to me. I suppose shipping costs from the Jordan River is not cheap (if it was from the Jordan River), but selling holy water seems to have no biblical basis. God declared the creation “very good,” but never did He call the creation “holy.” To declare something “very good” does not mean it is holy. Only God is holy and He alone can make us holy through Christ. Maybe you’ve seen the miracle spring water that one man’s giving away free. Sounds like a good deal, but be careful believing what they promise about this water. As always, if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Water that is declared to be holy, miraculous, or purifying is unbiblical. I can believe that about God, but not about water. We are made holy by trusting in Christ, purified by His atoning blood, and miraculously become a new creation in Christ. I can believe that because it’s in the Bible. Holy water? Not so.
There were several ceremonial washings in the Old Testament. For example in Numbers 19:17 it says, “For the unclean they shall take some ashes of the burnt sin offering, and fresh water shall be added in a vessel.” When someone came into contact with a dead carcass, they were required to undergo certain washings or cleansings, but the washings never made them holy…it did physically cleanse them, but there is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood (Lev 17:11; Heb 9:22), and holy water (if it exists at all), cannot take away our sins. The law said that “every person who eats what dies of itself or what is torn by beasts, whether he is a native or a sojourner, shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening; then he shall be clean” (Lev 17:15). Never is the source of the water mentioned or the importance of water in the Jordan River.
I would never put my trust in water…even if it was from the River Jordan. I put my trust in Christ for only He has the power to cleanse. The Apostle Peter wrote that “you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Pet 1:19). Clearly, John the Baptist knew that Christ was the Lamb, saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29b)! If you’re really interested in holy water, Jesus says that “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). This means that “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38). The One seated on the throne “said to [John], “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment” (Rev 21:6). Why not come to the water…the Living Water which springs to eternal life…without money and without price. That’s because Christ has already paid it all.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.