Some Biblical events that prefigured our baptism in
- Creation in Genesis 1:1-2 when the Holy Sprit brought life
and order to the waters of chaos.
- Noah and his family were saved from the waters of the
flood that cleansed the earth of sin in Genesis 6:9-18. Also see 1 Peter
- The children of Israel, fleeing from the Egyptians, passed
through the waters of the Red Sea, passing from the old life of slavery
into their new life as God's Covenant people [see Exodus 14:1] which St.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 is a form of baptism.
- The water purification rites of the Old Covenant: for
example, when the priests cleansed themselves with the water from the
laver so that they were ritually cleansed and able to enter the Holy Place [Exodus 30:17-21] and later the Temple in Jerusalem, and ritual purification for
coming in contact with the dead [Numbers 19:11-13].
- When the prophet Elisha told the Syrian general Naaman to
dip himself 7 times in the waters of the Jordan River to be healed [2
- Ezekiel's prophecy that Yahweh will pour clean water over
His people and they will be cleansed and filled with a new heart and a new
spirit by placing God's very spirit within them [ Ezekiel 36:24-27].
- The crossing of the Jordan River when God parted the
waters and the priests stood midway across the River with the Ark of the
Covenant as the children of Israel passed through the waters of the Jordan, leaving their old lives behind to become citizens of the Promised Land.
- The baptism of John the Baptist which called the faithful
of Israel into the baptismal waters of repentance in preparation for the
coming of the Messiah's ministry proclaiming the Kingdom of God [Matthew 3:4-5; Mark 1:4-5; Luke 3:3-4; John 1:31].
The first catechism of the Church, known as the Didache, or
"The Teaching", written not later than 120AD records: Regarding baptism.
Baptize as follows: after first explaining all these points, baptize in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in running water.
But if you have no running water, baptize in other water; and if you cannot in
cold, then in warm. But if you have neither, pour water on the head three
times in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Before
the baptism, let the baptizer and the candidate for baptism fast, as well as
any others that are able. Require the candidate to fast one or two days
previously." [ Didache, 7. 1-4 ]. Please notice that no where in
these instructions is it permitted to baptize without water!
The necessity of water in the Sacrament of Baptism: CCC # 694;
1213-17; 1228; 1238-39; Infant baptism = 1252