THE WATER OF LIFE: THREE EXPLORATIONS INTO WATER IMAGERY IN REVELATION AND THE FOURTH GOSPEL
AbstractThis article is comprised of three separate yet related explorations regarding the image of water in Revelation and the Fourth Gospel. It first explores the attempt to tabulate examples of water terminology in the New Testament and how that tabulation has proven incomplete. A fresh assessment is provided that includes an expanded lexical domain for water and notes its high frequency of usage in Revelation and John when compared to the rest of the New Testament. The next section examines four pericopae in Revelation and in the Fourth Gospel where water imagery is prevalent. Old Testament backgrounds for language are examined along with the intertextual relationship between texts in Revelation and John. A theological understanding of water imagery for Revelation and the gospel is proposed. In the final section, the Asian cultic practice of using water—the hydrophoros in the Artemis cult—is presented. While a Jewish background is commonly posited as the background for understanding water imagery in Revelation and the Fourth Gospel, the Greco-Roman polytheistic cults are posited as the primary religious background for Gentile believers in the Asian congregations.
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