Stirring the Waters

stirringwatersor ‘How to Raise Monsters’

Peter Leithart points out that the very early verses in John’s gospel can be corresponded with the Creation week:

DAY 1: The Light of the World (1:1-18)
DAY 2: The Baptism of John (1:19-28)
DAY 3: Jesus’ Baptism (1:29-34): dry land emerges from water, “the next day.”
DAY 4: John Points Disciples to Jesus (1:35-39)
DAY 5: Disciples Bring Brothers (1:40-42)
DAY 6: Jesus and Nathanael (1:43-51): “the following day,” the first day
DAY 7: [nothing]: Sabbath; the second day
DAY 8: The Wedding at Cana (2:1-11): “the third day”

More detail here.

It seems to be the case with many Bible books that they start off with a small seven, which is part of a larger one, which is then part of a great seven that structures the book (among other internal structures).

As with Matthew’s gospel, the next level in John covers the first few chapters, and might even solve a textual difficulty:

Jesus is presented as the Word (Light – Genesis); He is baptized by John and John’s disciples make an “exodus” (Waters parted – Exodus); Jesus builds a new priesthood, Nathaniel will see the heavens opened and Jesus turns water into wine “on the third day” (Land & Sea, Grains & Fruit – Leviticus); Jesus cleanses the Temple (Governing Lights – Numbers); Nicodemus, like Israel, must be resurrected (born again) (Army/Swarms – Deuteronomy); John baptizes converts in the Jordan (Animals/Man – Joshua); Jesus speaks to the Samaritan woman and many Samaritans believe, then He heals a nobleman’s son (Sabbath – Judges).

Finally, and here’s where it gets really interesting, after an angel “stirs the waters” (Genesis), Jesus also stirs things up by healing a man on the Sabbath. The first 6 chapters of Daniel also follow this Creation week pattern. In Daniel 7, the breath of God stirs the waters of the nations and it raises monsters! I guess, here, in John, the monsters raised from the Abyss are the Pharisees.

So it seems that verse about the angel stirring the waters should perhaps be included after all, as the beginning of the next cycle. The hovering angel represents the Spirit of God come to part the waters for a new exodus.

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