The family in the Old Testament became a special sphere of holiness, inextricably tied to the covenant. Critically, the purity/holiness of the family was determined by a series of water rituals. In the Hebrew worldview, people were believed to have contracted impurity by way of different events, objects, or states in life which rendered a person clean or unclean. To remove impurity, ablutions or immersions were required. In certain cases, the penalty for continuing in impurity was death. Thus, water rituals were at the heart of the identity of Israel—negotiating between the four states of being and regulating the individual’s and community’s status before God, thus maintaining family purity.
Our study will consist of two themes. First, we will develop a hermeneutic which can adequately provide a fuller exegesis of the Scriptures. In urging the recovery of a symbolic reading of reality we will investigate the psychological underpinnings of symbolic archetypes. The second part will investigate the meaning and use of water in the Old Testament by examining critical events and practices.