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Blood and Water

BLOOD AND WATER, the tr. of the phrase appearing in John 19:34 concerning the spear thrust by the Rom. soldier into Jesus’ side. The Gr. phrase, “καὶ εξη̂λθεν ευθὺς ἁ̂ιμα καὶ ὕδωρ,” seems to admit no other tr. than “and there flowed at once blood and water.” It is noted in the passion narrative as a most unusual event which is followed by the evangelist’s affirmation of the statement, “He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth—that you also may believe.” Over the centuries, commentators have offered all sorts of explanations for this passage. In the apostolic and post-Nicene church much was made of the fact that it was blood and water which flowed from the Savior’s side. They determined blood as significant of birth and the passion, and water as reflecting baptism. The writers of the time also maintained that the Lord was already dead and did not then die of the fresh wound, as some ancient heretics proposed. In the medieval tradition