These Bible studies are designed to use in small groups. They may provide a useful introduction to a meeting where different topics from the Guide are being discussed. Choose a study that will be linked to the topic you plan to study or that is relevant to your situation. During the studies, encourage people to think about what they read, to discuss the meaning and the implications of what they learn and, finally, to pray together about what they have learnt.

BIBLE STUDY 1 Water for life

The Bible has over 300 references to water and another 80 on rain.

The Bible looks at water in many different ways, using it as a symbol of destruction (Genesis 6-9), cleansing (Exodus 30:18), blessing (Jeremiah 17:8) and spiritual need (Psalm 42). Read Deuteronomy 28:12 and Psalm 65:9.

 BIBLE STUDY 2 Spiritual cleansing

In the early chapters of Leviticus we learn of many rituals that were used to bring cleansing (Leviticus 16:4, 16:24 and Leviticus 17:15).

Read Psalm 24:3-4.

Reflect on our need for spiritual cleansing. Jesus’ sacrifice provides us with means for spiritual cleansing.

Read Isaiah 41:17 and reflect on God’s promises to us.

Pray and consider God’s provision of water and its symbolic meaning.

BIBLE STUDY 3 Water as a symbol of blessing

In the Bible, water is used as a symbol to show several different aspects of God’s power. It can be used as a symbol of cleansing, as in the ceremonial washings of the Old Testament sacrificial system (for example: Exodus 30:18-21). It can be used as a symbol of destruction as with flooding (Genesis 6-9:17). But the most common use of water is as a symbol of blessing.

One of the many passages in the Bible which uses water to symbolise blessing is Isaiah 35. Much of the book of Isaiah concerns Isaiah’s prophecies of God’s judgement on the sins of the people. But this chapter looks ahead to God’s glorious promises to those who trust him.

Read Isaiah 35:1-7.

Read Isaiah 35:8-10.

The highway is God’s path for us – the path which leads to eternal life. Remember that Isaiah wrote this prophecy hundreds of years before the coming of Christ.

Pray that as the desert brought forth streams and springs of water because of God’s presence, we also will be filled with the joy of believing and trusting in God.

BIBLE STUDY 4 Sanitation

Read Deuteronomy 23:12-14.

There is very little teaching in the Bible about sanitation apart from these verses. The Israelites were given these clear instructions thousands of years ago. However, a huge number of people still lack access to good sanitation.

Verse 14 talks about how this command was given to keep the camp holy, but the practice would also have kept the camp healthy. God was aware of the need for good sanitation long before people understood about the diseases caused by poor sanitation. Physical cleanness is linked to moral holiness.

BIBLE STUDY 5 The Bible’s teaching on hygiene

The Bible’s main teaching about physical cleanliness appears in Leviticus 11-15. Some of the rules may seem strange and harsh to us. However, our modern understanding of how many diseases are transmitted shows other rules to be very sensible.

Read Leviticus 11:32-40 and 13:29-59.

The need for isolation and washing is often emphasised. Even today it may be difficult to distinguish between different types of infection and it may be better not to take chances. The transmission of diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis through blood and other body fluids shows clearly the need for care.

Read Philippians 2:4.

BIBLE STUDY 6 Holiness in practice

Read Leviticus 19:1-18.

The command to ‘love your neighbour’ first appears in Leviticus 19:18. It summarises verses 1-18, which contain various Old Testament rules and regulations. Look at this passage in Leviticus. Divide the commands (verses 3, 4, 9, 12, 14, 16 and 18) into those concerned with: 

These commands are given with a note of authority. Whose authority is this? Note the general nature of some commands (verses 2, 3 and 11) and the precise detail of others (verses 5-9, 13 and 14). God wants us to be holy, both in large matters and in the small details of our daily lives.

BIBLE STUDY 7 Seen and unseen

Microbes are invisible, yet they spread causing sickness, diarrhoea and even death. We need to keep ourselves and our water and food clean.

Sin, like microbes, can also be hidden and increasingly damaging if not controlled. Even when a person looks clean and free from sin on the outside, their hearts may not be clean.

Read Matthew 23:25-28.

Read James 1:13-15.

All we think and do matters. Our words and actions are multiplied either by Satan or by God.

Meditate on 1 Corinthians 10:31.

BIBLE STUDY 8 Feet washing

There are many references to feet washing in the Bible (Genesis 18:4; 19:2; 24:32; 43:24; 1 Samuel 25:41 and 1 Timothy 5:9-10). Washing feet was not done just for reasons of hygiene but also to make visitors feel comfortable and welcomed.

Read John 13:1-17.

Read Luke 7:36-50. Here we read about another shared mealtime.

BIBLE STUDY 9 The need for cleanliness

We need clean water supplies and food to keep us healthy and growing. The physical and spiritual parts of our lives are linked. Each affects the other part. Physical washing can be symbolic of spiritual cleansing. The Old Testament provides many examples of the need to clean ourselves before worshipping God.

Read Genesis 35:1-5.

Read Exodus 30:17-21.

What did Aaron and his sons do before entering the Holy Tent of Meeting or making offerings?

Read Numbers 8:5-15.

BIBLE STUDY 10 Washing clean through baptism

Baptism involves a symbolic cleaning and washing away of our sin.

Read Romans 6:1-14.

In baptism we are buried with Christ, dying to our sin. Then in unity with Christ we are raised to a new life. How does God then use us? (see verse 13).

Read Mark 1:1-5.

Why are we called to be holy? See for example Leviticus 20:7; Isaiah 6:3 and Ephesians 1:4. What happens when we are not? See Isaiah 35:8; Ezekiel 36:20-21 and Ephesians 5:5.

BIBLE STUDY 11 The result of being clean

Dirty water has only limited uses such as watering crops. As it is cleaned and purified, it can be used for washing, cooking and drinking to sustain life. Similarly, God can transform our lives.

Read Ephesians 5:25-27.

God became man in Jesus so that we might become children of God (John 1:12-14) and God’s chosen people (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Read 2 Timothy 2:20-21.

Read John 4:13-14 and John 7:37-39. Jesus gives us a very special ‘water’ to help us live for Him.

BIBLE STUDY 12 Staying clean

Once we have clean water supplies and healthy well-cooked food we need to protect them. What forms of protection have we learnt about in this Guide?

Read Ephesians 6:10-18. Once we have come to God, he helps to defend us against Satan’s attacks if we use the armour he provides.

Take some time now to pray for God’s protection in all we do.

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