But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
Many times we consider Jesus’ blood only in relation to our forgiveness. His blood obtained much more than that, though. He inaugurated the New Covenant, which means God also works in us “that which is pleasing in his sight” (Heb. 13:20-21). Additionally, when He died, water flowed from His body. What does that signify?
In Ezekiel we read: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you” (Ezek. 36:25). That promise was realized when Jesus cried out, “It is finished.”
In addition to the deliverance from our sins, we also need to be purified from our inward corruptions. It’s one thing to forgive someone’s debt; it’s quite another thing to change his way of life. Through the death of His Son, God not only dealt with the consequences of our sins—guilt and condemnation—but also with the cause of them.
We see this double grace in Titus: “Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). The water refers to our purification.
The Bible also associates water with the Holy Spirit: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:38-39).
We see a similar association in Isaiah: “Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field . . .” (Isa. 32:15). From being dry and barren, we are watered from on high and become alive and fruitful.
The water that came from Jesus’ body refers to our purification. It’s through the Holy Spirit that God washes and renews us: “The washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Through Jesus’ atoning death, the Father gave us the fullness of the Holy Spirit, purifying and transforming us into the image of His Son.