Basin of mirrors

Exodus 38:8 “He made the basin of bronze and its stand of bronze, from the mirrors of the ministering women who ministered in the entrance of the tent of meeting.”

The shadows and types of the Old Testament are wonderful in their ability to deepen our understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ and His wonderful work in the lives of a believer.  This includes what can seem so dry at first blush, like the description of the construction of the tabernacle.  Jesus told the disciples on the road to Emmaus as well as the Pharisees that the Old Testament scriptures testified about Him (Luke 24:37, John 5:39).  That is critical to know as we approach the Old Testament, for there is so much more there than at first meets the eye. Always we should pray that God would open our eyes to the Savior as we read the Old Testament. Surely, it is such a prayer that our Lord is happy to answer. 

So, what about the basin of bronze that is mentioned in the verse above?  What could this possibly tell us about Jesus?  Well, to begin with, it’s important to understand the purpose of this device. It was to be filled with water and used by the priests to wash as they approached the tabernacle to minister.  It was with this water that they were ceremonially cleansed in preparation for their ministry of worship.  Notice what it was made from – mirrors.  So, what’s the application? 

For one, it is important to note that the New Testament speaks of the Word of God as a mirror with which we look at ourselves spiritually, rather than physically (James 1:23-24).  As we see ourselves in the Word of God, we are to take action as it exposes the dirt, i.e., the sin, that we pick up in our daily walk as we live out our lives. We live in a world of sin, and it is well-nigh impossible to not be influenced by it.  As we listen to the voices of the world, we are inundated by ungodly advice and opinions as well as lies.  We are inundated by ungodly temptations to sin, not only in what we do, but also in how we think.  The only defense against such things is to compare what we are hearing – and perhaps doing, as a result of that influence, with the pure and holy Word of God.  It is here that we are able to see how God thinks and compare it with what man thinks. 

Elsewhere the Scriptures talk about “the washing of water by the Word (Ephesians 5:26).” This is something that the Lord Jesus does for His church, which is referred to as “the bride of Christ” in this context in Ephesians.  We also see in the use of man-made mirrors for the man-made basin an analogy of the way the Word of God came to us.  It was men that wrote down its words, but it was the Holy Spirit who gave the words by inspiration.  God working through man to give us His Word, just as God directed and worked through men to provide the tabernacle, including the basin of bronze.

But then there is another thought.  It is by way of the mirrors and water that were used in the bronze basin that we see the very nature of Jesus as He works through His Word to cleanse our lives from the sin of this world.  In the Word of God, we see not a reflection as we look at ourselves, but a reflection as God looks at us.  In this we see Jesus, condescending to us to wash our spiritual feet from the effect of sin on our lives from day to day, just as He knelt to wash the feet of His disciples in the Upper Room just prior to His crucifixion.  It was there that He said “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean . . . (John 13:10).” In other words, these believers in Christ were clean in the sense that Jesus would make them sinless in the Father’s eyes by dying for them on the cross (How awesome is this truth).  Yet, it is the daily washing that is still needed so that the believer can work out their salvation, bringing their practical lives into accord with what they are positionally already in Christ, i.e., clean. 

But notice that it is Jesus Himself that cleansed the feet of the disciples. And we should know that it is Jesus Himself Who is working in our lives, intimately and personally, to cleanse our thoughts and actions as we spend time at His feet reading and meditating on His Word. It is Jesus, Himself, Who then gives us the wisdom and power to both understand what the Word is saying as well as to do what it says. 

What an awesome shadow is given to us in the bronze basin that was made of mirrors in the tabernacle of God – a shadow of our need for daily time with Jesus, who, incredibly, wants to serve us each day by the washing of the water of His Word.

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