Jews and Christians share a common foundation of Scripture. It is within this common, sacred text that we shall find the source of "Grace upon Grace: Living Water." It requires little religious imagination to link the use of water as a purification rite in the Biblical world to the use of the mikveh in the early rabbinic period, and ultimately to the transformative ritual of Baptism as an essential sacramental rite in Christianity. My task this evening is not to trace that course of ritual development, but rather to consider the many and varied texts of Scripture from within which we find water, Mayim, as a central metaphor for God's presence and human struggle. I offer a midrash-an open interpretation of Biblical texts on water, a Jewish understanding of the religious significance of water, for our ongoing interfaith conversation on ritual and liturgy. Midrash is a form of rabbinic literature in which the text is used liked a prism and understanding, like light from many different sources, allowed to shine through the angles of glass, and if we are both lucky and skillful we shall see the bright colors of the spectrum suspended like a rainbow in front of our eyes. Midrash is a discipline of reading and rereading classic sacred texts, always allowing for our reality as readers and the overflowing surplus meaning of scripture to find their own new horizons of understanding.
Edelheit, Joseph A., "A Midrash On Water" (1996). Institute of Liturgical Studies Occasional Papers. Paper 72.