Water: Barrier to Blessing in Scripture

Understanding the patterns in the Bible are the key to understanding its basic message. Understanding the very first pattern in Scripture is a major key to view and grasp the big picture in the Bible, both Israel’s Scripture and the New Testament.

Water as a Barrier

The very first pattern focuses on water. Water stands as a barrier to man’s blessing. The waters covering the darkened land present a formidable barrier to man’s enjoyment of the good land, and therefore, must be divided. Water stands in the way. Water is a wall that must be “torn down.” The land was not yet inhabitable for man while under water. Water is a barrier.

 “Now[1] the land[2] was empty and uninhabitable,[3] darkness was over the face of the deep {waters}, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis 1:2

 The watery deep stood as a barrier to man’s enjoyment of the good land the LORD God prepared for the human race. Water completely immersed the land.[4] Before the land can be made habitable, suitable for people to enjoy, it must first be divided.

 God is a Water Controller

God is portrayed, then, as a water controller. He it is who controls the water and causes it to divide. Once the water is divided, and dry land appears, it can be shaped and made ready for the human race. When completed, man, taken from that land, can be placed on Eden Mountain in the presence of God, the very first Holy of Holies where both man and woman are depicted as kings and priests.

Water as a Barrier is a Pattern

This same pattern of water, acting as a barrier to the blessing of mankind, is followed all the way through Israel’s Scripture and right into the pages of the New Testament. The pattern is repeated over and over again through all periods of Israel’s history and in the story of Jesus and the Epistles. The pattern can be traced by tracking and observing the mention of water, rivers, bodies of water, seas, lavers, lakes, pots, clouds, baptisms, and even mountains.[5]

 Once this pattern[6] is recognized and traced throughout Scripture, the whole Bible story fits together like hand and glove. It’s astonishingly simple yet stunning in its profundity.

 Come join us at Grace Bible Church as we trace this pattern and many others.



[1] The syntax and grammar of Genesis 1:2 alerts the reader that a new topic is begun here in verse 2, a different topic than was covered in Genesis 1:1. The phrase “heavens and earth” is a Hebrew merism, indicating “the universe.” In the period of time covered by the phrase, “In the beginning…”, God created the universe. But when the Hebrew writer wanted to narrow his topic down, he used a special construction. This special construction begins with “Now the land…” Moses  is narrowing his topic down from the universe to the land. The same change of subject, narrowing his focus from a large subject to a much more narrow topic, is also used in Genesis 3:1: “Now the serpent…” From focusing on all the creatures in the land in Genesis 2, Moses narrows his focus down to the serpent, one specific creature in the land.

[2] It is doubtful that “ha eretz” in 1:2 refers to “the earth”. Ha eretz is used the vast majority of the time in the Old Testament for “the Land,” the Land which is the central focus of the entire Pentateuch and the Old Testament and the four Gospels. The boundaries given for the land in Gen 2 are exactly the same as for the land of Israel. The name of the daily newspaper in Israel today is called, “The Land,” Ha Eretz, same as in Genesis 1:2. Each section of Jesus’ Bible (The Law, the Prophets, and the Writings) begins with the identical focus on the Land.

[3] The land is described as “tohu vabohu,” empty and inhospitable for humans. The meaning of tohu vabohu is identical to that in Isaiah 45:18: “{God} did not create {the land} to be empty (tohu), but formed it to be inhabited (by people)”. You can see how “empty” stands in opposition to the phrase “to be inhabited.” The word tohu is also found in Deut 32:10 and is parallel to “desert”, an unihabitable wasteland, unfit for humans. It is not by chance that the beginning and conclusion of the Pentateuch (the Torah, the Book of Moses) describes a land with the same term, a land inhospitable for humnan beings. Over a period of 6 days, the LORD God would shape the Land into a place fit for people to live in. This is why the land is continually evaluated as “good.” The word is “tov” (“good , beneficial for people) is a pun on the earlier phrase, “tohu vabohu.” God transforms the land from “tohu-vabohu” to “tov.” The Land is transformed from uninhabitable to habitable, suitable for mankind.

[4] The land immersed by water clearly indicates that a birth is required and anticipated. Genesis 1 describes a birth. This is why Paul describes Christians as “new creations” based upon the new birth. The preparation of the Land in Genesis 1-2 foreshadows the process of becoming a follower of Jesus. See Paul in 2 Cor 4.

[5] The pattern of mountains, which begins in Genesis 2, is one that can be traced throughout the Scriptures.

[6] This pattern is just one of many that tie the entire Scripture together. Find the pattern and then trace it all the way through from beginning to end.