Trinity Sunday: water and spirit

waterandspiritThe Dialogue Continues… Nicodemus is oblivious to the two levels of meaning. He focuses on one meaning of “born anōthen” (“again”) and protests that what Jesus calls for is physiologically impossible (3:4). As in v. 2, Nicodemus’s categories of what is possible intrude into the conversation. On the level that Nicodemus understands Jesus’ words, Nicodemus’s protest is correct. It is impossible for a grown man to reenter his mother’s womb and be born a second time. Nicodemus’s protest is ironic, however, because his words are correct and incontestable on one level, but that level stands in conflict and tension with what Jesus intends by the expression “to be born anōthen.” Jesus’ words speak of a radical new birth, generated from above, but Nicodemus’s language and imagination do not stretch enough to include that offer. Continue reading