Many people who were being called to faith in Jesus Christ in the ancient world were slaves.  It has been the pleasure of our Creator to use many metaphors to clarify His Word. Bob Dylan’s song back in the day claimed, “The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.” This is apparently true in God’s unseen world.  Paul wrote, “We look not on things that are seen but things that are not seen” (2 Cor. 4:18). The reason! Things that are seen are locked in time and destined to perish, but things that are not seen are eternal. In fact, in God’s invisible world, a combination of both blowing wind and flowing water are metaphors used by God to represent His Word. Both communicate God’s truth of the gospel. 

Jesus words to Nicodemus about the new birth are a case in point, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3).

Nick’s response was understandable. “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he climb once again into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Knowing Nick’s confusion, Jesus repeated, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:5). The words “born of water and the Spirit” have left many confused. Upon further investigation, however, both are quite understandable and remarkable. This understanding comes in realizing that God has made things which human eyes have never seen, sounds that human ears have never heard, and truth that has never entered human minds (1 Cor. 2:9).

Jesus told Nick, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Jn. 3:8). This puzzled me for a long time. But hearing the sound of the blowing wind became the Holy Spirit’s key for me.

Jesus words about the wind now begin to make sense. He said, “You hear the sound of it but cannot tell where it comes from or where it goes.” Hearing is the key! Look at His explanation. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word.” Here is the explanation of hearing of the sound of the wind. Stop there for a moment and think. The word is the truth of the gospel that can be heard like the blowing of the wind. The truth of the identity, birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ taught and heard is like blowing wind across a room filled with sinners. The words of truth are really heard by some, and once they are heard, they cannot be unheard. A spiritual seed – unobserved – is planted in the soil of minds all over the room and cannot be unplanted.

Jesus continued, “And believes in Him who sent Me.” To believe is to personally trust in the God who gave us the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the exact same as personally believing in Christ, resulting in everlasting life. He continued, “Shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (Jn. 5:24). This passing from death into life is the new birth. Wow! Jesus is the great genius of all human history. God has made this spiritual truth knowable, and the new birth is possible only by His Spirit.

Paul ties it together in Romans when he said. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So very clear. He continued, “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world” (Rom. 10:17-18). This is just like the wind blowing around the world.

Then there is the water! In God’s unseen world there is unwet water. Unwet water! God said that His Word was like the rain that comes down from heaven (Isa. 55:10-11). Here is another metaphor. God’s Word is like rain. An illustration of this is found in Ephesians. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, thus presenting Himself a glorious church” (Eph. 5:26).

When we see the words “cleanse” and “washing,” most have an identity transfer thinking immediately of H2O. But look closely. This cleansing has nothing to do with wet water. There are many sincere, godly people who want desperately to stop this verse at the word “water” and make it mean H2O and water baptism. But reading on, we find that this water is different, and the cleansing is different. The water is spiritual, and the cleansing is spiritual – yet real.

Another illustration of unwet water is Jesus presenting Himself as the True Vine. The branches from the vine are believers who get both life and fruit from the Vine. But here, Jesus is not speaking of earning eternal life but of bearing fruit. He made this clear saying that His disciples were already clean because of His word which He had spoken to them (John 15:3). The cleansing was spiritual and was accomplished by Jesus speaking God’s Word – unwet water.

Jesus introduced the Samaritan woman to unwet water. He said that if she would drink the living water that He would give her (speak to her), she would never thirst again.  The water is God’s living and powerful Word. It has transforming power (John 4:10-14; Heb. 4:12). 

Paul gives very clear commentary on Jesus’ hearing the wind blow words to Nicodemus. Paul reminded the Roman church that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. This is the exact meaning of Jesus’ words. Jesus is saying that when one hears the sound of the gospel – it is like the blowing wind. Christ, the God-Man, died for sin, and rose again on the third day. He will save those who hear this truth and place their faith in Him. Hearing the words of the gospel are like listening to the wind as it blows and watching the shaking of the leaves. So, hearing and believing the gospel is like drinking the living water of God’s Word. So, ole Bob was right. The answer is blowing in the wind.