How Can These things be? That’s the question Nicodemus asked after Jesus told him about being born from above in water and the Spirit.
I wonder if in the early months of 1529, Martin Luther might have been reading the Gospel of John when he asked a similar question in his Small Catechism, “How can water do such things?” How can this be? He was writing about the water and the Spirit in baptism, “But with the word of God it is…a life-giving water…a washing of the new birth in the Holy Spirit.” Then he quotes Paul, “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior…we become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” That is what Jesus was talking about to Nicodemus. A life-giving water…a new birth…rebirth…renewal, generously poured out on us. We’re kind of stingy when it comes to the amount of water we use in baptism, but God is extravagant in dumping a whole bucket full of the Holy Spirit on us.