Already clean

John 15 records Jesus teaching his disciples (and us) about relationship with Him using the analogy of the vine and branch. As I’ve been studying it, verse 3 seemed to be out of place. Here are verses 1-4.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

I highlighted verse 3 with the bold font. I puzzled over this verse until I widened my view to see context of Jesus’ conversation. It takes place following the Last Supper. This is the final time Jesus ate with his disciples. In chapter 13, we see that Jesus started this meal by washing the disciples’ feet. Verses 4-5 tell us:

…he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Aha! Jesus is reminding his disciples that it’s not His washing of their feet earlier in the evening that made them clean, but rather it is His teachings/His words/His truth. Jesus is the living, purifying water! Luckily, you have daily access to this living water. It’s your Bible!


About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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