God in Metaphor
A New Menu of Metaphors
New-Old Names for God
God ~ Water
Water is one of the most common metaphors for God in the Hebrew Bible, and is used to convey a range of experiences: being nourished by life-giving rain; being swept along by a powerful river; joining in the flow of justice. Just as a body of water can buoy us, refresh us, and sustain us, it can also become fearsome in a storm and overwhelm us. This can be a powerful metaphor for our own experiences of the sacred.
Sometimes we seek spiritual nourishment; we long to drink from Peleg Elohim—the “God River.” At other times we feel buffeted by the waves of our life’s ups and downs, and seek reassurance, as in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “When you pass through the Waters, I am with you.” Water is life-giving, essential, and powerful; sometimes beautiful and sometimes scary. Just like life. Just like God.
Some Biblical water names for the Divine include:
- Wells of Liberation – May’anei Hayeshua – מַּעַיְנֵי הַיְשׁוּעָה
- Deep – Tehom – תְּהוֹם
- Fountain of Living Waters – M’kor Mayyim Chayim – מְקוֹר מַיִם חַיִּים
- Source/Wellspring of Life – Ain Hachayim – עֵין הַחַיִּים