John’s Gospel is loaded with references to water.
The purification jars of water in Cana get transformed into wine jugs. Jesus tells Nicodemus that Israel must be reborn of water and Spirit, and then goes beyond the Jordan, where His disciples start baptizing more disciples than John. Meanwhile, John’s disciples are in a dispute with the Pharisees over purification—whose point of reference would be the baptisms of the Mosaic law.
Subsequently, Jesus goes “out of His way” (i.e. takes the direct route that self-respecting Jews wouldn’t take) to ask a Samaritan woman for some water, and then promises her “living water” (an allusion to the law’s requirement for living water). Then He goes back to Jerusalem and meets a man who has no one to throw him into the healing waters of Bethesda. Jesus heals him, and in so doing instructs him to break the rules against carrying burdens on the Sabbath. (more…)
Good interpreters remind us that the chapter divisions in Scripture are not inspired. They certainly are useful—it’s much easier to find things! But when interpreting the Bible, we shouldn’t make the mistake of stopping or starting at a chapter break without thinking about the connections.
John 2–3 is a case in point.
In John 2, Jesus performs the water-into-wine miracle in Cana, and then goes to Jerusalem and cleanses the temple. These are both “signs” (albeit, of different sorts to our eyes, as the former is what we typify as “miracle,” while the latter is not), and many people believe on Jesus as a result of His signs (2:23). (more…)