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Mayim Chayim: The Living Waters

 

When Yeshua says, “We must fulfill all things righteously,” He is not referring to a baptism of repentance, but rather stepping into the Living Waters of ordination. Yeshua was about to take on his mantle as Messianic priest.

The Mayim Chayim has some important spiritual qualities. According to the Torah, a source of Living Waters cannot be defiled. Mayim Chayim overcomes defilement, but defilement can never overcome Mayim Chayim. When something becomes defiled, or ritually unclean as defined by the Biblical standard, whether a person or an object, it must be immersed in Living Water to be declared “clean.” Anyone unclean, or defiled was forbidden access to the Temple and therefore, unable to participate in worship or sacrifice.

This aspect of the mikveh is of great relevance to the modern believer. In John 7:37-38 we read, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of Living Water'” (referencing Isaiah 44:3, 55:1, 58:11).

Mikveh from a modern synagogue.

Is it possible that what Yeshua was saying, is that we—through faith in His death and resurrection—have become a source of this wellspring of Living Water? This would imply that, as Peter says in Acts chapter 10:28 “unto me hath God showed that I should not call any man common or unclean.” In other words, what God has declared clean, like the Mayim Chayim, cannot become unclean, it is now a source for Living Water.

The relevance for the contemporary Christian, therefore, is that baptism is an external testimony of an internal change. The lessons of the mikveh and the Mayim Chayim show that we are now a source of Living Water on legs. We can go into the world, sharing this good news to an unclean world. Because this bubbles up from within us, nothing can defile the source. Nothing can render spiritually unclean the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying presence within the believer.

According to the Torah, a source of Living Waters cannot be defiled. Mayim Chayim overcomes defilement, but defilement can never overcome Mayim Chayim.

This point becomes even clearer when we watch the example of the apostles. In Israel then and now, touching a dead person, a leper, a menstruating woman, and unclean spirit, all had the biblical properties of rendering an individual unclean. Yet, we find Yeshua doing just this in the gospels time and again. Yeshua was and is the Living Waters and nothing could ever make Him unclean. As a source of Living Waters, none of these things that would render an ordinary man unclean, can overcome Yeshua’s Mayim Chayim.

In Matthew chapter 10, this same authority, this same overpowering Mayim Chayim, was instilled into the disciples. “Yeshua called his twelve disciples and gave them authority to drive out unclean spirits and to heal every kind of disease and weakness.”

That may be fine for them, but what about us? “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of Living Water.'”

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Category: Biblical Studies, Fall 1999

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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