The Laver

                                                                                            Exodus 30:17-21
   Exodus 38: 8




"And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it. And Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it; when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, that they may not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the Lord. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they may not die; and it shall be a perpetual statement for them, for Aaron and his descendents throughout their generations." (Exodus 30:17-21)


     The brazen laver stood in the outer court between the brazen altar and the Tabernacle. It had two parts; the circular brass bowl made from the polished brass mirrors that the women brought with them from Egypt, and the brass foot or pedestal (Ex 38:8).  The laver had no measurements, symbolic of the limitless cleansing power of God.  The laver was never used by the congregation but was provided exclusively for the priests' purification. Every year the high priest washed on the day of atonement, put on the holy linen garments, and made an atonement for himself and the children of Israel (Lev 16:24).  But on every other day of the year, the priests only had to wash the defilement from their hands and feet before entering the Tabernacle to serve.  Carefully dipping their right hands in the laver, they meticulously washed their right hands then their right feet; reversing the process, they washed their left hands and left feet.
     The priests knew all too well the strategic placement and symbolic meaning of the laver.  Their sins being atoned for at the brazen altar made it possible for them to approach the Tabernacle in worship, but not before they stopped at the brazen altar to wash the defilement of the dusty Tabernacle court from their bodies.  They had to be both spiritually and physically clean before they could enter into the presence of a holy God in communion and fellowship.  The Word of God was clear in this matter; "ye shall be holy, for I am holy" (Lev 11:44)
     The ministry of the laver is of great significance in our Christian experience.  In the brazen altar we see our justification.  In the brazen laver we see our sanctification.  The water in the laver typified our cleaning through the Word of God.  Jesus said, "Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you." (Jn 15:3). The Holy Spirit sanctifies and cleanses us, preparing us for service in Christ.  By washing the disciples feet, the Holy Spirit sanctifies and cleanses us, preparing us for service in Christ.  By washing the disciples feet, the Lord taught that we who have been thoroughly cleansed through His blood must still be cleansed in our daily walk with Him.  Daily sins must be confessed to God in order to maintain an unbroken communion and fellowship with Him.
     The word sanctified means to be set apart.  First, we are set apart from sin, both spiritually (2 Chr 29:5, 15-18) and physically (1 Thes 4:3).  Second, we are set apart for divine service through Christ our high priest (1 Cor 1:2; 6:11).  We are washed at the laver and set apart to God (sanctified) as a result, and we are justified at the burnt offering altar by faith in Jesus' death on the cross as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29)
     When the priests washed at the laver, they saw their images reflected from the brass mirrors used in its construction.  The mirrors spoke of the Word of God, which reveals and reflects our sinful purposes and intentions.  The brass also speaks of the believer's self-judgement, which they are expected to exercise when they sin.  Paul said, "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." (1 Cor 11:31)   If we refuse to judge our own sins, the Lord will chasten us (Heb 12:6) back to communion and fellowship, so that we will "not be condemned with the world" (1 Cor 11:32).  The chastening process is not enjoyable; in fact, it can be very grievous, but it produces righteousness and holiness (Heb 12:10-11).  If Christians persist in their sins after being chastened by the Lord, He may bring judgement on them in the form of weakness, sickness, or even premature death (1 Cor 11:30).  The Word of God, appropriated and properly applied, prevents us from falling into sin, keeps us in our walk before the Lord, and makes our fellowship sweet in Him.






                                                                         Top of Page