John, the priest and prophet, stood at the Jordan River and called people to repentance. If they returned to God, cleansing was available. Last week the purification rite of mikveh was introduced. Becoming ritually clean could involve full immersion; or it may involve touching or sprinkling the same way God instructed the priests to sprinkle the sacrificial blood on the altar.
Immersion, or dunking, is a well-known picture of rebirth or new life. But mikveh’s other form also paints a beautiful picture. A person touches his head, heart, hands and feet with living water as a way to present their whole being to God - for repentance or for dedication.
The prayer would go something like, “Lord, forgive my thoughts (touches head), my will (heart), my work (hands) and my walk (feet). This same ritual could be done for dedication – “Lord, I dedicate my thoughts, my … “ and so forth.
After Peter was rebuked for refusing a foot washing and lesson on servanthood, he then exclaimed “Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” In other words, then let me do mikveh, I repent.
When Jesus was asked about the most important command, He repeated the Sh’ma, found in Deuteronomy 6. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. It is the same picture.
Mikveh is a powerful reminder to present all of myself to Him, inside and out. My thoughts and deeds and my very will need to be laid before Him as I repent of the past and dedicate the future.
This practice points to a hope and a promise that can only be accomplished by God. Only He can remove sin’s stain and make us clean. Water gives a picture, but it is blood that pays the price.
On the cross, Jesus was wounded in His head, His side, His hands and His feet. The crucifixion painfully and completely fulfills the mikveh picture. The Living Water shed His blood which cleanses us, now once for all.
Jesus, the Living Water, is my Mikveh and His blood alone purifies me.
…and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7