By G. D. Watson
Among the various emblems in Scripture, which the Holy Spirit has selected, none is more frequently used than that of water. In the second chapter of Genesis we have an account of a river that went out of Eden to water the garden, which had four heads or branches. This river with four branches was arranged by the Creator as a type of the Holy Spirit watering the souls of men.
The very names of the branches signify the four stages of the soul’s experience under the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Pison means “overflowing,”and is the first type of experience under the baptism with the Spirit. Gihon signifies “streaming, flowing, bursting out,” which represents the pushing, driving zeal (of the soul) under the power of the Spirit. Hiddekel means “rapid, running swiftly,” and represents the alacrity and zeal with which the soul acts under the power of the Spirit. Euphrates means “his sweet waters,” and represents the mature, mellow tenderness of boundless love and sweetness of disposition that the sanctified soul ripens into through the influence of the Spirit. The river Euphrates runs symbolically throughout the entire Bible. From the smitten rock in the wilderness a pure river poured forth for the people to drink of (Ex. 17:6). Likewise, from the crucifixion of Jesus (Jn. 19:33-35), the Holy Spirit, as a pure river, flowed through the ages over the (spiritual) deserts of earth for God’s people to drink of.
This river is referred to many times in the Psalms and the prophecies. Jesus spoke of it as flowing through the believer (Jn. 7:37-39). The last chapter of Revelation shows us this same river of the Eternal Spirit everlastingly flowing out from the Father and the Son (Rev. 22:1). So from the Scriptures we see that the Holy Spirit is the Water of Life, of which we are told to take freely and drink to the full (Rev. 22:17). The two greatest functions of water in the natural world are to cleanse and to quench thirst; and we must remember that God selects his types with great precision.
The Holy Spirit, referred to as water, washes away our sins, both actual and original. This river of water is no less than a Divine Person assuming the form of an eternal stream, flowing out every moment from the Father and the Son — from eternity to eternity. He executes the will of the Father in applying the precious blood of Jesus to our souls. In the language of Scripture, the Spirit uses the precious blood of Jesus as “fuller’s soap” to cleanse away the filthiness of our sinful nature (Mal. 3:2-3).
This cleansing is twofold. When we are regenerated, or born again, all our actual sins, with all the corruptions that are attached to them, are washed away by the Holy Spirit as He applies the merit of the blood of Jesus to our souls. But there still remains in every converted soul the natural evil disposition that springs up and distresses the believer. This inherent evil disposition is called by various names in Scripture, such as “the carnal mind” (Rom. 8:6-7), “the old man” (Eph. 4:22), “a heart of unbelief” (Heb. 3:12), “a stony heart” (Eze. 11:19), “indwelling sin” (Rom 7:14-17), “the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:17, 19-21), and other terms, all referring to the same thing. It is an inward, secret, subtle fountain, out of which flows every form of uncleanness from the inner depths of the human spirit.
The Scriptures teach throughout the Bible that this inner spring in the soul is to be washed, purged and cleansed from every form of sin. This is the work of the omnipotent, personal Holy Spirit. Hence we read in Ezekiel, “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you” (Eze. 36:25). If you will look through all the Scriptures and examine the use of the words “cleanse” (1 Jn. 1:7, 9), “purge” (Jn. 15:2, KJV), “wash” (Rev. 1:5, KJV), “purify” (Acts 15:8-9), “sanctify” (Heb. 13:12), “make holy” (same as sanctify), to “crucify sin” (Gal. 5:24), “put away sin” (Heb. 9:26), “be dead to sin” (Rom. 6:11), and all such words, there is not a single instance where such terms allow of any sin remaining. Notice the use of the word “all” in Scripture in connection with cleansing and saving. It is invariably from “all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7), “from all filthiness and from all idols” (Eze. 36:25), “from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9). This word “all” is God’s all and not man’s all. It is all from God’s point of view. It is the omnipotent God who affirms over and over that He will cleanse from all sin.
There are twenty words in the Greek Testament that indicate the idea of binding, repressing, controlling, tying, keeping under, and similar ideas, but strange to say, not a single one of these Greek verbs is ever applied to sin as restraining it or keeping it under. Every single verb applied to sin indicates its complete removal — washing it away.
The Water of Life was taken from Types of the Holy Spirit by G. D. Watson, condensed and revised, and may be reproduced and distributed.