On the cross, when the Romans pierced Christ with the spear, the scriptures say that water poured out:

But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. (John 19:34)

The Greek word used is ὕδωρ (hydōr) so it's unlikely that they meant, "fluids" or anything else, it's apparent that it was literally water that came out.

Why did water come out of Christ when he was speared?

  • Do you want to know the significance of the water that came out or do you want to know how water could come out from His side? If former, which denomination's perspective are you looking for? – Jayarathina Madharasan Apr 18 '15 at 18:30
  • Maybe you can clarify your question as to what you are asking. Heart failure, lungs filled with fluid (fairly clear) - drained. Greatly aided his recovery as in modern drains after heart operations. That's the medical side of it. But I suspect that you are after the spiritual of 1 John 5: 6 - and that is an interesting question. – gideon marx Apr 18 '15 at 19:07
  • For this question I'm interested in the Physical reasons. I agree asking for the spiritual would be another interesting question. – ShemSeger Apr 18 '15 at 20:01
  • It could be an allusion to Psa. 22:14. – user900 Apr 18 '15 at 20:32

The probable medical reason is pleural efflusion, caused by hypovolemic shock and congestive heart failure.

Hypovolemic shock, also called hemorrhagic shock, is a life-threatening condition that results when you lose more than 20 percent (one-fifth) of your body’s blood or fluid supply.

This would likely have been a result of the flogging prior to the crucifixion.

From gotquestions.org:

Those who were flogged would often go into hypovolemic shock, a term that refers to low blood volume. In other words, the person would have lost so much blood he would go into shock.


Prior to death, the sustained rapid heartbeat caused by hypovolemic shock also causes fluid to gather in the sack around the heart and around the lungs. This gathering of fluid in the membrane around the heart is called pericardial effusion, and the fluid gathering around the lungs is called pleural effusion. This explains why, after Jesus died and a Roman soldier thrust a spear through Jesus’ side (probably His right side, piercing both the lungs and the heart), blood and water came from His side just as John recorded in his Gospel (John 19:34).

  • Hypovolemic shock is a consequence, not a cause of fluid loss. There is only one independent site (Gotquestions.org? - with others quoting it word for word) that claims that massive accumulation of fluid occurs in the sac around the heart and lungs. We ought to check If there is any medical support or if this is an urban myth. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypovolemia :) – Dick Harfield Apr 18 '15 at 21:17
  • I actually found that article not long after asking the question. – ShemSeger Apr 18 '15 at 22:00
  • @DickHarfield - I edited to clarify, and the article that I linked to from webmd certainly backs up the gotquestions.org article. See the section titled "what is heart failure" – David Stratton Apr 18 '15 at 22:04
  • Thanks David. This now gives us a plausible physical explanation for what is described in John 19:34. That's what I was looking for. – Dick Harfield Apr 18 '15 at 23:21
  • Though a Biblical scholar and not a medical professional, Cathleen Shrier states that the cause of the Hypovolemic shock is low oxygenation of the blood caused by respiratory distress and heart failure caused by the mechanics of crucifixion. – James Shewey Apr 19 '15 at 5:16

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