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Tradition of blessing water
On the great feast of the Baptism of the Lord, there is a tradition of water blessing.. Moreover, the same consecration takes place the day before, on the Epiphany Eve (on the civil calendar, respectively, January 18 and 19).This tradition is established as a memory of the baptism of the Lord in the Jordan.and as preparation for the baptism of those who were preparing to accept the Christian faith on this day (the so-called "read out").
For this reason, the feast itself received a triple name: Epiphany — in honor of the public revealing of the Son of God to the people and the consonant testimony of the Father about Him (“This is My Beloved Son”) and the Holy Spirit (in the vision of a dove); from the Forerunner John in the waters of Jordan and the Enlightenment - from the custom of receiving Christian baptism on this day.
Since baptism requires immersion in water, there has been a tradition to consecrate this water before.And this consecration together with baptism was initially performed only on the eve of the feast of the Epiphany on Christmas Eve.When the Christian Church occupied a dominant position in the then civilized society (finally under Emperor Justinian in the middle of the 6th century) and the tradition of mainly children's baptism was established, then the solemn rite of baptism of adults (announced) only the custom of consecrating water on the Eve of Epiphany remained from the solemn rite of adult baptism. Later, they began to perform the blessing of water also on the very day of the feast. Began to walk for consecration on the rivers and sources, ts "Walk to Jordan".
Epiphany water since ancient times was revered as a great shrine.(great agiasma). She was received by repentants who were under the penance of excommunication from Communion for grave sins. Already svt. John Chrysostom notes that the water drawn on the feast of Epiphany all year, or even two, three years does not deteriorate, while remaining fresh, as if recently poured.
The beginning of the world is water, the beginning of the gospel is Jordan"- exclaims sv. Cyril of Jerusalem. The first one says: “And the Spirit of God moved over the water” (Gen. 1: 2), and the second: “He who is not born of water and the Spirit cannot enter the Kingdom of God” (John 3: 5).
Water covering the earth’s surface and found in all living organisms, water is ice,rain and steam - in biblical language means the basis of the visible world. “Praise the Lord,” exclaims the psalmist, “who created the heavens wisely ... established the earth on the waters” (Ps. 135: 5-6).
Water is a sign of God's mercy during drought and thirst (Isa. 43:20), water is a symbol of changeability, impermanence (Ps. 57: 8), water (tears) is a sign of repentance (Ps. 68: 2), water (flood - the destroyer of sin (2 Peter 3: 6), water is a sign of purification and blessing (Num. 19:20)
Especially important for us is the image of the “living water”, which the Lord used in His preaching at the Feast of Tabernacles, when a symbolic pouring of water from the Siloamsky spring in Jerusalem was made: “Who thirst, go to Me and drink; he who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water ”(John 7: 37-38). The evangelist immediately makes an explanation: “This he said of the Spirit, whom the believers in him had to receive” (John 7:39). Christ used the same image in a conversation with a Samaritan woman at the well of James (John 4: 10-14).
In the church action of the great consecration of water, many of these biblical images have found expression, especially the gospel image of the “water of life” - a sign of the grace of the Holy Spirit.
With prayer, the cross is immersed in water and the water that has washed the image of the crucified Christ becomes holy.The invisible grace of God is now taught with the substance of water.She is sprinkled in a sign of cleansing the house and she is received with reverence on an empty stomach throughout the year.
Just as water is necessary for the human body, so is the grace of God for his soul.How appropriate the words of the prophet Isaiah sound during worship: “Strengthen the weak hands, and affirm the trembling knees; Tell a timid soul: be strong, do not be afraid; here is your God ... He will come and save you ... and the ghost of the waters will turn into a lake, and the thirsty land into sources of water "(Is. 35: 3-7)," and in joy you will draw water from the sources of salvation "(Is. 12 : 3).