"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
In Hebrew the word for ‘baptism’ is: mikvah. The etymological meaning of ‘Mikvah’ is: 'gathering', as in the gathering of waters.
In the days of Noah, Hashem saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And Hashem was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart (Genesis 6:5-6).
Our grieving Father could have opted to destroy the earth, but He opted instead to try to fix it. I lived ten years in S.E. Asia. Upon my arrival in the U.S.A., I was sharing with a friend about the miserable state of many places of rural India. My friend reacted by saying, "They just need to blow it up and start again!" The Father could have done the same thing with the world, ‘blow it up and start again,’ but no. Somehow He wanted to give a chance to humanity. He instead opted to try to fix us, and this 'fixing' took the form of a planet-wide mikvah, or ‘baptism’ through the Great Flood.
The idea of being born-again is vividly portrayed in our Scriptures. .The first idea is given to us through Noah's flood. The narrative of the sixth chapter of the Book of Genesis tells us that the earth had become polluted by angels who renounced their heavenly station in order to settle down on earth with women. In the process they taught us mankind a knowledge we were not supposed to have and thus the earth became polluted with violence and wickedness. The Father then proceeded to gather all the waters of the planet and purify humanity. In the process of this worldwide ‘mikvah’, God rid the earth of the bad elements and through Noah and his family gave a chance for humanity to continue.
Later, when God wanted to separate for Himself a people through whom He would teach the world about Him and finally redeem humanity, He brought the Israelites out of Egypt. He needed them to go through a ‘mikvah/baptism so He brought them all the way to the Eastern arm of the Red Sea (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). As they crossed, they shed behind their Egyptian culture and emerge on the other side a new people. They had become a new nation, a new culture: God’s people. Before entering the Promised Land, the Red Sea scenario was repeated, this time in the Jordan River. This area of the Jordan River became the place where later John the Immerser would mikvah people unto repentance. People would have to cross the Jordan out of the Land to meet John, mikvah, and re-enter the Land as born-again creatures.
Friends; the message is clear. Unless we have shed behind ourselves the ‘Egyptian’ culture that keeps us in idolatry, the doubtful disobedient behavior that keeps us in the desert, we cannot call ourselves: born-again, and we cannot enter the Promised Land. May we daily 'mikvah' in His Words (John 15:3), shed our old selves behind, be born again, and live new lives as His creatures.