Leviticus 11:35-36 NASB

35 Everything, moreover, on which part of their carcass may fall becomes unclean; an oven or a [t]stove shall be smashed; they are unclean and shall continue as unclean to you. 36 Nevertheless a spring or a cistern [u]collecting water shall be clean, though the one who touches their carcass shall be unclean.

It would seem almost all things that came into contact with an unclean carcass were defiled by it,but when it came into contact with water it seems the water was never defiled.

Why was water never defiled by an unclean carcass?

  • Because water (obviously) cannot be washed, and/or can be said to wash itself. In Scripture (or otherwise) unclean things are usually cleansed by washing, are they not ?
    – Lucian
    Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


Leviticus 11:36 is the basis for the מִקְוֵה (mikveh), or gathering (pool) of water. The mikveh was not merely a stagnant pool of water, but rather, it is “connected directly to a natural source of water, such as a spring.”1 Due to this constant stream of “living water” (מַיִם חַיִּים), unclean material is constantly filtered out as the water is replenished. On the other hand, if there was stagnant water on a seed, and unclean material fell on the seed, the seed would become unclean.2 The reason is that the water is static rather than active (“living”).


1 Wikipedia: “Ritual washing in Judaism
2 Lev. 11:38

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