Is The “Water” Of John 3:5 Amniotic Fluid?

Proponents of the so-called “faith-only” doctrine are faced with a dilemma when they encounter John 3:1-6, which is the story of the conversation between Jesus and the Pharisee Nicodemus. Jesus says (verse 5), “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Being born of the Spirit is, obviously, a spiritual renewal that makes us a new man. Being born of the water, however . . . .

Most readers of Scripture read “water” as indicating the water of baptism. However, some divisions of the “faith-only” persuasion insist the “water” refers to the amniotic fluid of physical birth. Which is the case? A careful examination of the passage should bring the answer to light.

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. — John 3:1-2

Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a leader of the Jews. Being a Jewish leader, he would have been well aware of John the Baptizer’s activities at the Jordan River. He may even have been among those who heard Jesus and John preach, which would account for his secret belief that Jesus was a teacher come from God, as per his statement. We know he was not testing Jesus, because he came to Jesus by cover of night — he was afraid of his peers (fellow Jewish leaders).

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. — John 3:3

This is the subject of the entire conversation — how a man is born AGAIN. Not how a man is born the FIRST time, but how a person can be born a SECOND time, how a person can see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? — John 3:4

Nicodemus’ question contains a hint of sarcasm. Nicodemus, of course, knows for a fact that a man cannot reenter his mother’s womb. However, being a Pharisee, he has difficulty thinking beyond the realm of the physical and literal; though he perhaps sensed that there was a deeper meaning to Jesus’ words, having heard Jesus preach before.

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. — John 3:5

Remember that the topic of this conversation is how to be BORN AGAIN — not how to be born the first time, but how to be born a second time. If the “water” to which Jesus refers is amniotic fluid, then Jesus would be giving an affirmative answer to Nicodemus’ sarcastic suggestion that a man can crawl back inside his mother’s womb. We know this is not the case simply because it defies logic. Remember also that Nicodemus is a Jewish leader, and would be well aware of the baptism John introduced during his ministry. Thus, Jesus refers to baptism. This claim that a man must be born of water AND spirit meshes with Peter’s words on the Day of Pentecost — “Repent and BE BAPTIZED in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. AND YOU WILL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT”. This is the “washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost” mentioned in Titus 3:5.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. — John 3:6

We know the flesh is naturally predisposed against God (I Corinthians 15:50), and thus cannot enter the kingdom of God. Thus, Jesus is not saying “water” as in amniotic fluid, referring to physical birth. The flesh is condemned. Everyone has been born physically. Jesus did not need to prescribe physical birth to someone who had already been physically born. He is strictly talking about how to be born AGAIN. That which is born of the flesh is flesh — nothing can change that, and nothing can make the flesh acceptable to God. Nicodemus is asking how to rise beyond that wretched flesh and its unhappy end.

Based on this logic, we can conclude that the “water” to which Jesus refers is NOT amniotic fluid, but rather the water of baptism.


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