“Dear woman, here is your son; here is your mother.” –John 19:26–27
Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” (Matthew 12:48–50 NLT)
Most people know the idiom “blood is thicker than water,” which is taken to mean familial ties are stronger than all others. However, some scholars claim this is an alteration of another phrase that completely changes the meaning. The original, these scholars claim, is “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb,” which means that covenantal relationships are stronger than those of family. This older phrase likely stems from the relationship between David and Jonathan; though they were not related, their friendship was so close they forged a covenant to each other, a promise that strained or even superseded ties to family, particularly when it came to Jonathan’s relationship with his father, King Saul.
Jesus brings a new understanding to the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb. Through His blood, we are united with God in Christ. This binds us not only to the Father, but it also binds us to one another. Our covenantal relationship with God should therefore take precedence above all others, including family, and our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ are to be more formative than our relationships with those who are only family. Examine your closest relationships to see how they stack up against this relational rubric; if God is not at the top, what needs to change so He is?