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The meaning of Waters in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

wo'-terz (mayim, plural of may, "water"; in the New Testament hudor, "water"; kindunois potamon (II Corinthians 11:26), the King James Version "perils of waters," is in the Revised Version (British and American) "perils of rivers"): In the New Testament there is frequent reference to the water of baptism. Pilate washes his hands with water to signify his guiltlessness. Jesus tells the Samaritan woman of the living water. The Lamb shall guide the redeemed unto fountains of waters of life.

The uses of mayim are well classified in BDB, especially the figurative references, as follows: a symbol of distress, "when thou passest through the waters" (Isaiah 43:2); of force, "like the breach of waters" (II Samuel 5:20); of that which is overwhelming, "a tempest of mighty waters overflowing" (Isaiah 28:2); of fear, "The hearts of the people .... became as water" (Joshua 7:5); of transitoriness, "Thou shalt remember it as waters that are passed away" (Job 11:16); of refreshment, "as streams of water in a dry place" (Isaiah 32:2); of peace, "He leadeth me beside still waters" (Psalms 23:2); of legitimate pleasures, "waters out of thine own cistern" (Proverbs 5:15); of illegitimate pleasures, "Stolen waters are sweet" (Proverbs 9:17); of that which is poured out abundantly, blood (Psalms 79:3), wrath (Hosea 5:10), justice (Amos 5:24), groanings (Job 3:24).

Alfred Ely Day


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