09_”How”: The Laver & Baptism

The Old Testament laver teaches us that cleansing and purity is necessary for all those who would approach God. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus when John baptized Him in the Jordan River. The dove was real, not symbolic; the Holy Spirit was real, not symbolic. John the Baptist was a witness that Jesus’ baptism was literal, physical, and spiritual. I can know with certainty that through baptism in water the Holy Spirit descends upon me, follows me as the water-Rock in the desert, and reconfigures me into a “new creation” of Christ.

Welcome Kelly K, Diane G, Amanda B, Mark C, Todd S, MaryKatherine B, Allyson M, Marianne F, and Catie W, Bible Study Evangelista’s newest friends of the show! Thank you for loving and lifting me :)

LOVE the Word™ is a Bible study method based on Mary’s own practice: lectio without the Latin.

L – Listen (Receive the Word.)

O – Observe (Choose one or more of the following personality approaches to connect the passage to your life and recent events.)

F | Franciscan – What does this song inspire you to pray?

I | Ignatian – Have you ever taken a walk or hike, and suddenly realized how parched you were? What did that feel like? Imagine feeling that way, spiritually, for prolonged periods of time. Perhaps you have felt this way for a long time, either recently or in the past. How was/is Jesus your living water?

A | Augustinian – How does this week’s show make you understand and appreciate Baptism more? How is Jesus’ gift of “living water” meant to help you pour yourself out for others?

T | Thomistic – Perhaps you’d like to renew your baptismal promises:

Baptismal Promises:

  • Do you reject sin, so as to live in the freedom of God’s children? I do.
  • Do you reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin? I do.
  • Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness? I do.
  • Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth? I do.
  • Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? I do.
  • Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting? I do. 

V – Verbalize (Pray about your thoughts and emotions.)

Remembering that He loves you and that you are in His presence, talk to God about the particulars of your O – Observe step. You may want to write your reflections in your LOVE the Word journal. Or get a free journal page and guide in the right-hand margin.

E – Entrust (May it be done to me according to your word!)

Holy Spirit, I come to You, the Fount of Life, to ask, with humility, that You fill my poor heart with those Living Waters. Let my heart overflow with love for everyone, with every intention of my will, with every word upon my lips, with every deed which I perform. May my heart be a Temple of the Most Holy Trinity, that all who approach me, may find within me, the living and abiding presence of Your love. May the Spirit of Your love never lay dormant within me, but pour forth to embrace, comfort, guide and sustain all the souls who You choose to have cross my path in life. This I ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen Amen +


*LOVE the Word™ exercises are offered according to FIAT: the four personalities, or “prayer forms,” explored in Prayer and Temperament, by Chester Michael and Marie Norrisey: Franciscan, Ignatian, Augustinian, and Thomistic: FIAT! These prayer forms correspond to the Myers-Briggs personality types.

Notes and References

Water in the Old Testament

Genesis 6:5-18, The Great Flood

Exodus 14, The Red Sea Crossing

Exodus 17:1-7, God miraculously provides water from the rock in the desert.

Exodus 30, specifications for the bronze laver in the tabernacle in which the priests washed serving hands and gospel feet

Exodus 38:8, The laver is made from the mirrors of the tabernacle virgins.

Ezekiel 47, The prophets continued the theme, using water extensively as a symbol of the New Covenant that revealed how cleansing waters would somehow, one day, also create new life.

Type – Antitype correspondence

1 Corinthians 10:1-4, St. Paul says Noah’s flood and the Red Sea crossing are antitypes of baptism.

1 Peter 3:21, Baptism saves us.

1 Corinthians 10:1-4, The Rock that provided water followed them through the desert.

St. Ambrose, de Sacramentis, lib. v. c. 1: “It was no motionless rock which followed the people.”

Tertullian, de Baptismo, c. ix: “This is the water which flowed from the rock which accompanied the people.”

Ephesians 5:26, “…that He might cleanse her (the Church) by the washing (laver, bath) of water with the word…”

Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing (laver, bath) of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit.”

Hebrews 10:22, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed (lavered, bathed) with pure water. Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope…”

The Ephesians passage indicates that it is the Rite of Baptism, the water and the words spoken, that accomplish the cleansing. The Titus passage clarifies that the action of grace performed by the Holy Spirit makes the water and words efficacious. Adding further specificity, the Hebrews passage includes the Baptismal promises, the “confession.” We renew this confession every Easter and memorialize it every time we visit a baptismal font and make the Sign of the Cross.

John 3:5, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Matthew 3:13-17, The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus when John baptized Him in the Jordan River. The dove was real, not symbolic; the Holy Spirit was real, not symbolic.

John 1:32-34, John the Baptist was a witness that Jesus’ baptism was literal, physical, and spiritual. I can know with certainty that through baptism in water the Holy Spirit descends upon me.

2 Corinthians 5:17, Those baptized into Christ are “a new creation.”

The Lavabo (“I shall wash”) in the Mass is derived from the words of Psalm 26:6-12. The priest pours water from the cruet over his fingers into a little dish, then uses a towel to dry his fingers. As he washes his hands he prays the lavabo prayer: “Lord, wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Novus Ordo). This ceremony before the Eucharistic prayer within the Mass is known as the lavabo proper.

John 2:2-11, Jesus changes water into wine.

John 13:1-17, Just before the eve of His terrifying, supreme sacrifice, Jesus dons the priestly girdle of sacrificial service in the towel he uses and washes the disciples’ dusty, tired feet.

Mark 10:35-45, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized.”

“Where purity increases, so does the capacity to love” St. Josemaría Escrivá.

Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Episode Resources

Fulfilled, Uncovering the Biblical Foundations of Catholicism, Chapter 7, Immersed in His Grace

Ignite, Chapters 6 & 7, The How of the Bible

Come join the chatter on the Facebook community. What’s the most sacrificial thing you’ve ever offered God? Tell me your #LOVEtheWordtakeaway for this week’s show.  

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2 thoughts on “09_”How”: The Laver & Baptism

  1. Awesome!!
    “Jesus Grant that I may die for love of Thee, Who were so graciously pleased to die for love of me!”
    from the Pieta Book ❤

  2. I have a new understanding of baptism. Thank you, I love listening to your bible studies because you make the Bible come alive to me. I thank God for you.

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