I know the Senegalese people were mostly Muslim, but is the following quotation from God's Bits of Wood also used anywhere in the Bible? "I know now what it is what washes the water. It is the spirit."

There is no direct parallel to this quotation from God's Bits of Wood in the Bible, although there are some scriptural verses that allude to similar concepts, particularly of water and the spirit both being cleansing and purifying forces. Both John 3:5 and Ephesians 5:26 refer to water and the spirit.

Expert Answers

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Upon initial reflection, this seems like a very Christian phrase, but it has no direct parallel within the Bible. There are, however, several passages of scripture that relate to it, albeit tangentially.

Two passages jump out. First is John 3:5, which reads that "unless you are born of water and spirit, no one can enter the Kingdom of God." In some other versions, this says "baptized" or "washed" with water and spirit. This means that you must be baptized with the Holy Spirit after repentance of your sins and acceptance of Christ.

The second is Ephesians 5:26: "to sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word." This is a direct command to husbands, stating that they should lead their wives with scripture and help to purify their family by encouraging devotion to God's teachings.

Neither of these phrases say anything about the spirit necessarily washing the water or anything like that, although they do allude to both spirit and water. In the biblical sense, water is traditionally metaphorical and symbolizes cleansing that is done by the spirit.

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