Water and light
Why did God use water and light to symbolize the word of life?
Plants and animals cannot survive without both water and light. Water and light are the sources of life for all living things, but according to Jn 1:3, God created all things through the word. It says nothing that has been made was made without the word of God. God is the creator of all things and God is the word (Jn 1:1). This is why the one true God, who is a spirit, is the Lord of all creation (Gn 1; Jn 4:24). This all comes together and makes sense when we remember that the Bible also refers to God’s word as water (Am 8:11-13) and light (Jn 1:4).
Just as flesh cannot live without water and light, men cannot live without God because he is life (Jn 1:4). God used water and light to symbolize his words of life to let people know that his words provide life to human souls (Dt 32:1-2; Is 55:1-3; Am 8:11; Jn 1:1-4).
How can we receive God who is water and light?
Jn 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Therefore, we can accept God into our hearts by receiving his words of life (Heb 8:10). God also compared his words of life to his seed (Lk 8:11). This means people who are born again of his seed by receiving his words become gods themselves (Jn 10:35; Acts 17:29). The same idea can also be expressed in terms of the light. God is with those who chose to come into the light that represents the word of life. God cannot dwell with us if the word that was there in the beginning is not hidden away in our hearts. It is only when we have the word that God can dwell within us (Jn 3:31-34).
John the Baptist testified that Jesus would be the one who would baptize people with the holy spirit and with fire (Mt 3:11). In Lk 12:49, Jesus said, “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” Similarly, the Old Testament compared God’s word in the mouth of Jeremiah to fire and God’s people to the wood the fire consumed (Jer 5:14). According to Rv 11:5, fire from the mouths of God’s two witnesses devours anyone who tries to harm them. Taken together, all of these passages make it clear that the Bible uses fire to figuratively represent God’s word.
Why did God use fire to represent his word? What characteristics do fire and the word share? God’s words can be full of love, grace, and mercy, but they can also be filled with judgment and wrath. John said that Jesus would baptize with fire because the words he spoke would consume people’s sin and wickedness (Mt 3:11). Jesus wished in Lk 12:49 that his fire were already kindled because he wanted the words of the holy spirit that are like fire to enter people and consume their sins. Sometimes, in his grace, God causes our hearts to burn as we listen to his words (Lk 24:32). In summary, fire represents God’s words of judgment—a cleansing baptism that consumes our sins. But fire can also represent God’s words of grace that burn within our hearts.