- 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).
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
Water and oil were used in ancient Israel as sacrifice in saint place. Today our sacrifice for Christ is our thankful heart and mouth.
I'm now in Bosnia, were Orthodox Christians have Easter. It's amazing to see, how people are really devoted to Christ, despite some differences between my and their churches, the most important is One King - Christ. Greetings from hot Bosnia :)
wonderful how the scriptures can be discerned spiritually. Yes, God's creation is perfection itself. I never cease to be amazed at how wonderfully made are His creatures and how everything is provided for their existence. Lovely post.
I wonder if we'd entertain more today if we'd offer our guests a more simple fare. And how much healthier we'd be if we would eat more simply, too. I'm enjoying this series, Laurie. I love how you give us so much Scripture to use in your studies.
Wonderful post, bless you for sharing.
Love this Laurie, and all the scripture you referenced. We are so blessed to be nourished and loved daily! :)
Blessings and hugs,
Lovely post thanks for sharing and thank you for sharing this on the Blog Hop
Will be coming back to read more.
Handmade at Warratahstree
By reading your post I have just learned about emulsions and the role of emulsifiers. It goes to show how I missed out on such useful information during my schooldays. I'll hope to learn more by reading your excellent posts.
Yes, Zim, water and oil were important in Old Testament worship, which I plan to discuss further in another post in this series. Praise God that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice! May we continue to honor Him with praise!
My Ukrainian grandmother was Russian Orthodox, and although I wasn't saved until long after she died, I believe she loved Jesus and was saved.
Blessings to you,
Thanks for your sweet comment. Evidence of God's provision, creativity, and intelligence even extend to the molecular level, as he placed enzymes and other molecules within cells exactly where they would be needed to work together to sustain life. How "scientists" can think this happened by chance shocks me.
So true -- hospitality should be about opening our doors and our hearts, not about trying to impress with our cooking or our decor. And simple, wholesome food has health benefits too, as Daniel and his friends were the first to prove when they chose grains, vegetables and water over the king's fare.
I'm blessed to hear you are enjoying these posts.
Love in Him,
Amen, Denise -- we are blessed indeed! Thanks for your lovely comment, and may you have a blessed week in Him!
Thanks so much, Tracy, for your kind comment, for hosting, and for following! Welcome & God bless,
Great post, Laurie.
Today many self proclaimed experts are advocating eliminating most fat from our diets or replacing them with artificial fats, blaming them for heart trouble and other diseases. As you point out those natural fart are essential for health. unfortunately the artificial fats cannot be processed by the body, so they do not provide nutrients. Unfortunately the body also has trouble getting rid of them adding to the very problems they were supposed to eliminate.
Unfortunately we see the same tendency to try to substitute some thing else for the word of God in many churches, making the problems they supposedly fixed worse.
I'm glad you found this post informative! Thanks for your comment, and may you have a blessed week in Him!
Thanks, Donald! What a great analogy! Whenever man tries to "improve" on God's plan, whether in diet or in His Word, they inevitably cause harm rather than good. Synthetic trans fats do indeed cause many health issues, and false teaching or even watering-down time that should be spent on preaching with meaningless entertainment can have disastrous spiritual results.
Loved all the information you shared here. Great post!
I love Pamela's comment. As one who gets easily overwhelmed, this gives me the freedom to just be able to be simple...and let that be enough.
Thanks so much! God bless,
Amen, Jen! Less is more. The fish that Jesus grilled on the shore was no doubt simple, yet the best fish ever prepared on earth!
Blessings to you,
Quite interesting! By the way, would you send me an email at FishHawk7@gmail.com so that I can email you back. I have something to discuss with you that would be better done in private. Furthermore, word verification was merely an irritation before, but with my eyesight now being so poor, it has become a nightmare. Subsequently, it would be much easier for me to leave comments on your posts via email.
Thanks for your visit and comment! I'll email you.
Such a good lesson, Laurie! I love all the imagery you bring out here. I always learn something when I stop by here. Thanks for linking up to Playdates with God this week.
Love the symbolism of the Word! God is so creative. :)
Hi Laurie!! Thanks so much for your in depth post on the symbolisms of oil and water. God's Word is so simple yet complex all at the same time...only God, I love it! :-) Thanks for stopping by and linking up...have a wonderful weekend!!
So good, Laurie! Your words are such a good resource for helping the Word to sink deep within using symbolism and imagery. Blessings to you! Love, Rachael @ Inking the Heart (linked up after you at Missional Women)
Thanks, Laura, for your kind encouragememt and for hosting! You are always such a blessing!
Love in Him,
Amen, Jen! Thanks so much for your visit & comment.
Thanks, Michell, for your sweet comment and for hosting! What a blessing that God's Word holds fresh truths for us each day!
May you have a blessed weekend too,
Thanks so much Rachael, for your visit & lovely comment!
May God bless you and your ministry,
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