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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Blood and Water

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(John 19:34) are said to have issued from our Lord's side when the soldier pierced him on the cross. The only natural explanation that, can be offered of the fact is to suppose that some effusion had taken place in the cavity of the chest,' and that the spear penetrated below the level of the fluid. Supposing this to have happened, and the wound to have been inflicted shortly after death, then, in addition to the water, blood would also have trickled down, or. at any rate, have made its appearance at the mouth of the wound, even though none of the large vessels had been wounded. It is not sufficient to suppose that the pericardium was pierced; and, if effusion had taken place there, it might also have taken place in the cavities of the pleura; but, during health, neither the pericardium" nor the pleura contains fluid, being merely lubricated with moisture on their internal or opposing surfaces, so as to allow of free motion to the heart and lungs.

It is more probable, however, from all the symptoms in the case, that the immediate pathological cause of Christ's death was a proper rupture of the heart. The chief of these particulars are the following:

(1.) The suddenness of his death, which so surprised Pilate (Mark 15:44), who was accustomed to see sufferers linger for days upon the cross. (See CRUCIFY).

(2.) The loud cries just before expiring, which usually accompany the sense of suffocation resulting from the congestion of blood at the heart in such cases.

(3.) The sanguineous effusion from the pores that occurred in the garden the preceding night during a similar paroxysm of mental and physical tension.

(4.) The separation of the serum (" water") from the crassamentum (clotted " blood") in this case, which can only be medically accounted for by this supposition, as otherwise the blood would have become coagulated in the veins, and no such effusion as above could have occurred. (See Physical Cause of the Death of Christ, by Wm. Stroud, M.D., London, 1847, p. 399-420.)

The puncture by the soldier's spear was therefore in the lower part of the pericardium itself, on the left side, as would most naturally have resulted from a thrust with the right hand of one standing on the ground and opposite; this alone, had not Christ been already dead, would necessarily have been a fatal wound. Treatises on this subject have been written in Latin by Bartholin (Lugd. B. 1648, Lips. 1683 and since), Jacobi (Lips. 1663), Loescher (Viteb. 1697), Quenstedt (ib. 1678), Saubert (Helmst. 1676), Sagittarius (Jen. i1673), Schertzer (Tusc. Disputt. 8), Suanten (Rost. 1686), Triller (Viteb. 1775), Wedel (Jen. 1686), Calon (Viteb. 1679, 1736), Dreschler (Lips. 1678), Eschenbach (Rost. 1775), Derschow (Jen. 1661), Haferung (Viteb. 1732), Koeher (Dresd. 1698), Meisner (Viteb. 1662), Quenstedt (Viteb. 1663), Wegner (Reg. 1705), Hopfner (Lips. 1621), Loescher (Viteb. 1681), Quenstedt (Viteb. 1681), Schuster (Chemn. 1741). (See BLOODY SWEAT).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Blood and Water'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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