- As we saw last week, water and oil in Scripture are rich symbols of the Holy Spirit, with His light shimmering on the surface of the Living Water (Jeremiah 17:13; John 4; 7:38). But the symbolism may also extend to God’s physical and spiritual provision, as He is not only our Creator and Redeemer, but also our Sustainer, feeding us with water and oil.
Water nourishes plant and animal life on earth (Genesis 2:6,10; Job 8:11) and marine life in the seas (Genesis 1:20,21). Without these, we would have no food source, and without water, we die (Genesis 21:15,19; Psalm 23:2).
Polluting the water is a terrible plague, as in Pharaoh’s judgment when God turned the waters to blood (Exodus 7:17-24; Psalm 105:29). Moses ground up the golden calf and added it to the drinking water, so that the Israelites would be reminded of their sin of idolatry that separated them from fellowship with God (Exodus 32:20).
Springs and fountains are a blessing from God (Joshua 15:19, Judges 1:15, Song of Solomon 4:15), Who provides water (Psalm 78:16; 104:13; 105:41; 107:33-35; Isaiah 35:6-7; 4117-18; 44:3-4, etc.). When we place our faith in Him, we become “like a tree planted by the rivers of water,” (Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8), growing in the spiritual blessings of fruitfulness and abundant, eternal life (John 10:10).
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Water and Oil: Physical and Spiritual Milk
Water and oil are each necessary for human life, to quench our thirst and appease our hunger, and to keep our body hydrated and lubricated like the finely tuned machine that God designed it to be (Psalm 139:14). As I am reminded whenever I step on our high-tech digital bathroom scale, our body is made up of about 50% water and less than 13% to more than 35% fat, depending on age, sex, and physical fitness.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, provides water and oil to His sheep, symbolizing the physical blessing of food and water and the spiritual blessing of joy and peace in Him (Psalm 23). Man may mistakenly think that oil and drink come from the world (Hosea 2:5), forgetting that every perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17).
Oil is a food staple that binds wheat together into cakes (Deuteronomy 7:13), and even the manna from Heaven tasted like fresh oil (Numbers 11:8). The Promised Land was a “land of oil olive,” along with other bountiful provisions (Deuteronomy 8:8).
God used both Elijah (1 Kings 17:9-16) and Elisha (2 Kings 4:1-7) to demonstrate His sustenance and miraculous provision in desperate times to those with faith. When the widow gave her last drops of oil to feed Elijah before she and her son had what she thought would be their last meal, God rewarded her by continually replenishing the oil in her cruse and the meal in her barrel until the drought was over.
In Elisha’s case, a woman had a debt so large that she would have to sell her sons into slavery to repay it, and all she had was a pot of oil. He told her to pour the oil into every vessel she could find at home and round up from all her neighbors, and God poured out a blessing of oil so abundant that it covered her debt and freed her sons. What a beautiful picture of how God Himself paid the price to redeem us from bondage to sin and death, if we place our trust in His Son’s death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:4) as the only way to Heaven! (John 14:6)
Although water and oil do not mix, they can be blended into an emulsion by adding a third substance known as an emulsifier. When we vigorously shake a mixture of oil and vinegar, we see a cloudy liquid as tiny globules of oil swirl through the water. This is a temporary emulsion, for as soon as we set the bottle down, the oil again floats to the top of the water in a smooth layer. Adding an emulsifier stabilizes the emulsion so that the oil, or fat, and water mix together in an opaque blend of even consistency. Milk, for example, is a permanent emulsion of butterfat in water, with casein, or milk protein, acting as the emulsifier.
Breast milk alone contains all the nourishment needed to sustain a newborn infant’s life, for it is a perfect blend of water, butterfat, and protein in ideal proportions for survival and growth, and it also contains antibodies and other vital substances from the mother’s blood that help protect the infant from disease. Only God could have designed such a perfect, complete first food! Job compares God’s nurturing love and source of all provision to “breasts full of milk.” (Job 21:24).
Throughout Scripture, milk and butter are symbols of God’s abundant physical and spiritual blessing (Isaiah 7:22; 55:1; Joel 3:18). God promised the Israelites a land of milk and honey (Exodus 3:8, 17; 13:5, etc.) and nourished them with milk and butter, animal fat (meat), and grape juice, which is mostly water but which also symbolizes Christ’s blood shed for us (Deuteronomy 32:14).
Abraham offered a meal of milk, butter, and a calf to his three heavenly guests – preincarnate Jesus and two angels – and was rewarded with the promise of a son who would bring abundant spiritual blessing, as he would give rise to the great nation of God’s chosen people (Genesis 18:1-19).
Peter wanted new believers in Christ to be fed with the sincere milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2). Jesus, our beloved Bridegroom, delights us as if with milk and honey under His tongue and clear eyes as if washed with milk (Song of Solomon 4:11; 5:1,12)
As we shall see in subsequent posts, water and oil may also have lessons to teach regarding worship, healing, and judgment May we thank God daily for His physical and spiritual sustenance symbolized by water and oil!
© 2013 Laurie Collett