In Exodus 30:18-21, the Lord charged Moses to make a bronze laver for washing. “Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet with water from it.  

Whenever they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by presenting a food offering to the Lord, they shall wash their hands and feet so that they will not die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants for the generations to come.”

Reflection of the Inner Self

An interesting factor in the construction of the Laver is the source material. Exodus 38:8 reveals the source, “Bezalel made the bronze washbasin and its bronze stand from bronze mirrors donated by the women who served at the entrance of the Tabernacle.” 

The Laver was made from the looking glasses of women. In those days, it was polished bronze and not glass like today. This element in the construction of the Laver is indicative of a reflection of our inner self. It is typical of the purification and sanctification of one’s life following Salvation. 

Cleansing by the Word

Overall, the Laver was an instrument for washing; it was located in the outer court, and intended for the Priest to wash before entering into the Tent of Meeting in proper. Its significance is tantamount to a progression in the believer’s walk with Christ. It begins with the Altar, which signifies a place of sacrifice and represents the Cross of Christ and Salvation. 

Following Salvation, sanctification deals with the believer’s behavior and the need to have a cleansed life. This is beautifully typified by the Laver, which speaks of cleansing by the Word. 

Beginning of Powerful Experiences

In John 15:3, Jesus said, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” It is clear from the Scriptures that salvation is not the final experience in a believer’s walk with the Lord. In fact, it is just the beginning of a life of extremely powerful experiences to come. 

The Laver speaks of the second aspect of salvation; that is, our separation. It does not relate to deliverance from condemnation, as that was taken care of at the Altar. A believer must experience cleansing in his or her daily walk, with Christ, after putting faith in the substitute for salvation.

Serve with Integrity

No priest was allowed to enter the Holy Place until his hands and feet were cleansed, even after serving at the altar of sacrifice. If a priest endeavored to do so, he would die. The use of the Laver for cleansing stopped the priests from being struck dead by God. The Old Testament priests were types of the New Testament believers. 

The apostle Peter in his letter said “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” 1 Peter 2:9.

In this context, it behooves us to serve Him with integrity of heart. The Psalmist ponders upon this question, “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?  Who may stand in his holy place?  The one who has clean hands and a pure heart who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god” Psalms 24:3-4.

Significance for Today

The Priest was to wash both his hands and feet at the Laver before proceeding into the Holy Place, the place of fellowship with the Lord. The floor of the tabernacle was simply the dust of the desert, so the priests’ feet would need daily washing. Having offered sacrifices, his hands would also need to be washed. 

The account indicates that the Laver was made with an upper bowl and a lower one. The upper bowl was used for washing the hands and the lower one for the feet. This has further significance for believers today. The hands speak of service, while the feet speak of our walk. Thus, the Laver emphasizes the need to have clean hands as we serve Christ and clean feet as we walk with him.

The New Testament reveals that every believer needs to go on to maturity. The writer of Hebrews urged, “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God” Hebrews 6:1.

Image contributed by Mboesch on Wikimedia Commons

Paul Mursalin is a member of the International Board of Barnabas Aid from Guyana.