What is the Meaning of Water and Blood in 1 John 5:6?
A Common Question
This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 1 John 5:6
John now gives a description of Jesus Christ as he that came by water and blood. No one knows exactly what John had in mind when he used these two symbols.
Tertullian’s guess seems to fit the facts best: the water is a reference to His baptism or inauguration, where the Voice from heaven declared, “This is my beloved Son,” and established that Jesus was the Christ. The blood is a common symbol for His death, where there were also supernatural miracles to cause even the confirmed and cruel Roman centurion to realize that this man (Jesus) was more than a mere man (Matthew 27:54); also, by the Resurrection, the Father confirmed Jesus as the Son of God (Romans 1:4).
This interpretation also fits the facts concerning the gnostic-type beliefs of Cerinthus who taught that the Christ came upon Jesus at the baptism but left Him before the Cross; John could have been refuting some such heresy. It is interesting that John called attention to the water, and the blood which came from the side of Jesus on the cross (John 19:34-35). At any rate, these were important symbols or witnesses to the deity of Christ in John’s mind. He also adds a third witness, the indwelling Spirit. Thus, according to John’s count here, there are three that bear record.