Is it a sin to drink holy water? What happens if you drink holy water?
Holy water has been prayed upon and blessed by a priest or an ordained clergyman, used for various purposes such as baptism, blessing of people and houses, blessing of objects of devotion, and exorcism.
Holy water has been in place for centuries, and it is still used in the Catholic, Anglican, and certain Orthodox churches.
It is believed that holy water holds powers to cleanse, to heal ailments, and to ward off evil spirits.
Certain churches have holy water held in fonts at the entrance of the church; some hand out little bottles containing holy water to the congregants, and some only sprinkle the holy water over the congregation during mass and special days such as Easter.
Is holy water biblical?
The tradition of using holy water in several churches is said to have stemmed from the Scriptures.
In the Old Testament, water was used by the priests in the temple.
Washing with water served as a means of purification for the priests (Leviticus 15:27, Leviticus 16:4, Number 19:7), in the purification of houses and vessels (Leviticus 14:51, Leviticus 11:32, Leviticus 15:12), and in the purification of people or objects which had touched something unclean (Numbers 19:13,18).
Sprinkling or washing in water symbolized cleansing and purification, a greater mystery God revealed in Jesus Christ.
In Ezekiel 36:25, God tells His people that He will sprinkle clean water upon them to cleanse them from filthiness.
This clean water is a symbol that we will look at in this article.
The only mention of holy water in the Bible is in Numbers 5:17.
The Bible is not clear on what this holy water is. However, it seems to be water that was specially blessed by a priest.
The context of this passage doesn’t speak of the holy water used for purification or warding off evil spirits. Still, it is a passage usually quoted as proof of the existence of the use of holy water dating back to the time of Moses.
Water was also used for baptism to symbolize the washing away of sins and turning back to God, forsaking old ways.
Being dipped or immersed in water during baptism and being lifted up from it serves as a symbol of death and rebirth, sharing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Though Jesus, who was without sin, also was baptized by John, He did it to identify with us and be an example for us.
He told John it was to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15). Jesus didn’t have to be baptized.
Still, He did it to exemplify us in fulfilling all righteousness.
In some baptismal ceremonies of today, the water used for baptism has been blessed by the priest before use.
It is regarded as holy water as well.
Symbolism of water in the Bible
Though the use of holy water as it’s being done today seems to have its roots in the way the temple priests of old went about its use, water itself has great symbolism throughout the Bible, and in understanding the different symbolisms of water, we can understand its use by different churches today.
Water as Holy Spirit
Water is used in the Bible to symbolize the Spirit of God. God refers to Himself as the “fountain of living waters” in Jeremiah 2:13 and compares a man trusting in Him to a tree planted beside waters in Jeremiah 17:7-8. The Spirit of God is God (Genesis 1:2) because God is a spirit (John 4:24).
In John 7:37-39, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit using water symbolically. The Holy Spirit is given to all who come to Jesus Christ, and just as water brings satisfaction to the thirsty, the Holy Spirit also satisfies the believer in Christ.
Water as the Word of God
Water is also used in the Bible to represent the word of God. Jesus Christ cleanses the church through the word of God (Ephesians 5:26).
Our consciences as believers are washed by Jesus the High Priest using the pure water of the word of God (Hebrews 10:21-22).
Paul refers to the constant preaching of the word of God to the church as them being “watered” like a plant (1 Corinthians 3:6-8).
The word of God is an essential factor in the growth of the Christian, just as water is to the growth of plants.
We are made pure and sanctified by the word (John 17:17).
Water as Salvation
The prophet Isaiah, in his praise to God, makes mention of “the wells of salvation” in Isaiah 12:3.
While speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus Christ tells her that if she knew His true identity, she would be asking to receive living water from Him (John 4:10-14).
Though this speaks specifically of the Holy Spirit as well, the living water cannot be received without salvation, which is why Isaiah refers to it as the wells of salvation, in which we draw the Spirit of God to drink to never thirst again.
Water is also used to symbolize prosperity (Psalms 72:6, Isaiah 41:18, Isaiah 43:19), troubles (Psalms 66:12, Isaiah 43:2), a large number of people (nations or the world, Jeremiah 47:2, Ezekiel 43:2, Revelation 17:15), and so on.
Understanding the different symbolisms of water in the Bible can help us understand why it is being used by some churches today.
While some take it literally, others use holy water symbolically, especially for purification and blessing.
Can you drink holy water? What happens if you drink holy water?
There are diverse ways holy water is prepared in different churches for different reasons.
Knowing what holy water is is important to identify the one suitable for drinking.
In the Roman Catholic church, for instance, there is holy water that contains salt, holy water that contains oil, holy water that contains ashes, and holy water that contains wine.
Each of these types of holy water has different uses.
For instance, holy water containing concentrated salt is used for regular sprinkling of blessings over the congregants.
The holy water containing oil is used in baptisms. Then, the holy water containing ashes and wine is used in the consecration of the church and vessels/objects used in the church.
There is no law against drinking holy water by the church. However, you must be sensitive about what goes into your body for hygiene reasons.
Many people believe that holy water means that the water is pure and void of contamination. Some people get their holy water from church fonts.
This is not advisable as many people dip their hands into the water as they come in and go out of the church.
Some have their holy water handed out to them in bottles or have the holy water added to their personal bottles by the priests. However, you should be mindful not to ingest too much of it because not only are other materials added to the water, but you are also not sure about its cleanliness.
However, you can drink the water if you are sure of its source.
For example, some people get water from their homes and take it to church for blessing. If this is how you get your holy water, then you can drink it.
Is it a sin to drink holy water?
As earlier mentioned, there is no law against drinking holy water. However, the way it is being used could be a sin. Many erroneously view holy water as the cure to their sicknesses and diseases, the tool to drive out evil spirits or be protected from evil, and basically the one-stop solution to all their problems.
It is essential to understand that healing is from the Lord and not from water that has been blessed.
God said, “I am the one that heals you” (Exodus 15:26).
It is Him who forgives all our sins, washes us of our iniquities, and heals us from all our diseases (Psalms 103:3). He does this of His own volition to whom He wants (Romans 9:15, Habakkuk 2:3).
Believing in holy water as the only way for you to receive healing, deliverance, and purification is taking the belief you should place in God on an object.
The holy water shouldn’t be viewed as having magical properties to bring instantaneous answers to your prayers or needs. It shouldn’t be seen as the only way to receive blessings from God.
It also shouldn’t be used in a way that makes you feel holier than another person.
However, if anything at all, it should be used as a symbol of what God does in us through His Word and His Holy Spirit in us, reminding us that constantly being exposed to God’s word is what brings about our purification and sanctification, and constantly walking with the Holy Spirit in obedience to His leading is what satisfies us and dispels evil spirits from having any form of hold or attraction to our lives.
Whether you drink it, use it to wash, or sprinkle it around yourself or your household, let your motives be pure and your heart set on God as you use holy water.