Water appears in the Bible as one of the first elements of creation. Genesis 1:2 "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."
Before the seas and this terrestrial ball,
And heaven’s high canopy that covers all,
One was the face of nature, if a face;
Rather, a rude and indigested mass;
A lifeless lump, unfashion’d and unframed,
Of jarring seeds, and justly Chaos named.
The heavens and the earth existed, aesthetically and fundamentally pleasing to the Creator. The Spirit of God hovered or tremulously brooded over the face of the waters, imparting to it, its unique characteristics. Deut. 32:11 As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings,..." Job 38:9 When I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band;.."
- They were created from nothing, John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.,
- they were created new, never having existed before,
- they were created as a revelation of the mind of God to man. Romans 1:19-20 "...because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,..." Acts 17:24-29 "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.' Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising."
The brooding Spirit of God gave water distinct and extraordinary distinguishing features, unreplicated in the other elements. The four unique properties of water are its ability to dissolve nearly any substance, enabling those substances to be incorporated back into the life cycle; its ability to evaporate at low temperatures as part of the hydrologic cycle, without which life would not be possible; its unique molecular structure providing unusually high surface tension, enabling ships to float and trees to pull water via the capillary action created by water's tensile strength; and the rarest and most powerful of qualities, it expands when frozen creating less density and allowing ice to float.
Matthew 27:24 "When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it."
Although almost all elements are dissoluble in water, water is unable to dissolve the conscience or wash away the guilt of our actions. The term 'I wash myself' contains the essence of the Greek middle voice used by Pilate in proclaiming his innocence, his desire to be absolved from the injustice being perpetrated and absolution from his abdication as a just judge, from his calling as a magistate to act in a manner protecting the innocent. It is also a reflexive statement symbolizing an ability to cleanse the hands and body, and from that an assumption that the sufficiency and capability exists within to be free from the tyranny of the penalty, guilt and blame for sin. Psalm 26:6 "I will wash my hands in innocence; So I will go about Your altar, O Lord,..." The Jews marked their day and held in high regard the washing of their hands and feet as a declaration of piety and freedom from wrongdoing. Pilate's action and those washings by which there is a declaration protesting innocence or remission from any sin is an attempt to deal with our human condition and the weight of our existent alienation from God and the subsequent disturbing thoughts on the meaning, purpose and end of life. The striving to appease, placate or vindicate ourselves to the inherent power all people believe exists as a supreme, sovereign authority and judge of intents and actions lies unresolved in the actions of cleanliness.
The true cleansing is not from the soil of the day. 1 Peter 3:21 "There is also an antitype which now saves us--baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,..." Baptism is the earthly expression of a spiritual principle or truth through an immersing and raising up from the water, analogous of the Ark coming safely through the flood and the burial, death and resurrection of ourselves to the newness of life. Romans 6:4 "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
"the answer of a good conscience toward God", the answer refers to an interrogation, the " avowal of consecration to God after inquiry, having repented and turned to God and now making this public proclamation of that fact by means of baptism (the symbol of the previous inward change of heart)." The picture of the reality of life lived in the knowledge of Christ's substitutionary death and propitiation (satisfactory sacrifice) so that you and I may be freed from the human condition with all its anxieties, fears, and doubts and live. Jesus declared, "...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."