On The Journey, Judy Bowman Jesus and water
We begin our human lives in a salty sea inside our mother’s womb. Water is our first home. In the most basic biological sense, water is life. Our bodies are about 75% water, the same as the earth on which we live. Most of us could live for about a month without food, but only about three days without water. Water is what keeps us going. In Scripture, we know that God chose water to cleanse the earth of sin in the great flood. The ark built by Noah saved the souls of the 8 people who would rebuild humanity. God helped the Jewish people escape slavery in Egypt by leading them through water. We know that water is esteemed by the Lord because of the role water plays in our sanctification. Christ is the Living Water which alone can satisfy the deepest thirst of our souls for truth and hope and love. Before Christ, the ritual washings and purifications of the Jews prefigured the cleansing power of the Sacrament of Baptism. Our Lord was baptized by His cousin John, who announced that day that Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Water is our entry into the Church. Through Baptism we are marked as a child of God, a member of His royal family.
Which brings us to why I love holy water. To begin with, there’s nothing magic about holy water. It’s what the Church calls a “sacramental.” It’s not a Sacrament itself like Baptism or Confirmation, but it is a “sacred sign which bear(s) a resemblance to the Sacraments” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 1667). Most Catholic Churches have a baptismal font in the entry of the building to remind us that it is through Baptism that we come into God’s family. The font is filled with water that has been blessed by a priest. You may also see smaller holy water fonts at the inner doorways to the nave, or seating area. Catholics dip three fingers of their right hand into the water in the fonts when they enter the church. We pray the Sign of the Cross and reverently bless ourselves “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The blessing the priest gave the water is attached to it. So using holy water to bless yourself or your children or your home conveys that same blessing. Devoutly blessing yourself with holy water remits venial sins. This is powerful stuff. Sometimes I think we take holy water for granted. Listen to this, which is from the prayer blessing the water and describes the power it has to “…put to flight all the power of the enemy and be able to root out and supplant that enemy and his apostate angels.” There’s a reason demons flee from holy water—it reflects the goodness of God and evil abhors love and mercy and hope. If you don’t keep holy water in your home, get some. Use a clean sealed bottle and bring some home. I have a personal font by the front door. I bless myself when I leave and when I come home. The Church encourages us to bless ourselves and our family members. You can use holy water to bless your home, your family, your car, your pets, your meals. If you’re sick, you can add a few drops to your food. Remember, holy water isn’t a magic potion. Like other sacramentals, it prepares us to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit. Holy water helps us to remember how much God loves us.
I love holy water because it reminds me of my Baptism. I was nineteen and I’ll never forget the joy of knowing God’s love and mercy had made me as white as snow. It was knowing how much He loves me and wants me to know and love Him. When I bless myself, I remember His love anew. I love holy water because it makes me look differently at the ordinary things of the world. God uses ordinary things like water and oil, bread and wine, and transforms them into extra-ordinary creations. He wants to do the same thing to me and to you. Holy water is as powerful as our faith in Christ. It is the mercy and forgiveness of God. It makes demons flee in terror. It refreshes my soul.
I read once that love is an act of continual forgiveness. That means God is continual forgiveness, since God is love. Every time I use holy water, I remember how much God loves me and forgives me, every day, every moment. When we don’t take advantage of the goodness of holy water, we miss out on this gift of blessing God has given to us. I don’t know about you, but I need His blessings. I need all of them. And I especially need His mercy and forgiveness. That’s what holy water reminds me. That I’m loved and I’m forgiven. Thanks be to God.
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” — Mark Twain
Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist ChurchPleasant Valley Baptist invites you to in-person Sunday morning and evening worship services. You are always welcome. Services require social distancing, hand sanitizing, and mask-wearing. Please join us worshipping the Lord while practicing recommended safety measures. Wednesday in-person services continue to be suspended, but worship time can be watched on Facebook or YouTube. Come join with us in person as we study God’s Word this coming Sunday.
PVBC had a wonderful day Sunday worshipping the Lord. Pastor Flood brought two wonderful messages from God on Sunday. During this pandemic. If you feel yourself drifting away from God, be sure to watch the morning message.
Our world, leaders, families and friends need our prayers. Please pray for these days in which we now live. Everyone must realize the greatest need and answer to our struggles is to turn back to God. Our nation must acknowledge God, His Son, and our sin. Be expecting Christ’s return. Remember to pray about the vastly increasing cases of Covid-19 and take precautions to protect yourself and others.
Georgia has a hugely important run-off election to settle control of the US Senate. If Republicans control, they will be a constraining hand for Democrats whose stated goal is to fundamentally change the character of America’s future forever. Everyone must vote in this run-off on January 5th. Pray for President Trump and other leaders of our country.
Continue to pray for church members Mike Cross, Denise Pitts, Betty Pitts brother and sister, for our pastor and his family. All need our prayers. Pray for our shut-ins Carolyn Denton and Lula Petty and others with high-risk situations. Pray for our churches, missionaries, and evangelists.
Pleasant Valley Baptist continues to live-stream Facebook and YouTube Sunday morning/evening services 11 AM, evening 6 PM, and streaming mid-week Bible study. Visit or view our services for encouragement from God’s Word.