The first rule of fasting is simple. After you have properly gone through a good pre-fast regime you must put water, water, water everywhere.
Jesus said, "wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting,"
The questions you might ask are, "What does washing your face have to do with men knowing that you are fasting?" "How are they going to know you are fasting just because you don't wash your face?" "Is my face going to get dirt on it from not eating?"
If it breaks out in a rash, washing will not remove the rash. If my face sinks in from loss of weight, washing will not restore that. From the surface, it appears that washing your face won't do anything to let people know that you are not fasting. All washing your face will do is give you a clean face.
What did Jesus mean by this? Many times when I am researching something in the Bible, I refer back to the Greek translation and the original Hebrew. If that does not explain it then I have to go back to the original language of Jesus, Aramaic.
The word "face" as used in the Bible is the Hebrew word "prosopon," defined as: the front (as being towards view), e.g., the countenance, aspect, appearance, surface; by implication- presence, person:(outward) appearance.
Interpretation from one language to another is always a little tricky. Idioms and slang terms may translate literally into something that was not meant at all.
For example, if a young person said, "that's a bad car you're driving" they actually mean that you are driving a good car, a nice looking car, an in-style car; a car that meets with their highest approval.
The literal translation of that, however, is that you are driving a "bad" or no good, raggedy, lemon of a car. The literal translation and the true meaning may be entirely different.
"Prosopon" may have meant face. It may have also meant the entire outside of the body. Again, the Greek definition of the word that "face" is also translated as the front (as being towards view), the countenance, aspect, appearance, surface; by implication- presence, person:--(outward) appearance.
Jesus could have very easily meant or said, "Wash your persona, your person, your outward appearance that men view."
If you walked among street-smart youth that regularly used vulgarity, and they felt that you needed a bath, they might use a vulgar statement such as, "you've got to go wash your a . ." or "your a . . is stinking".
They do not mean that your "a . ." or buttocks area is the only part that you need to wash. They mean you need to wash your whole body. The literal translation and what is often meant are two different things.
Jesus may have meant for them to wash their bodies, their whole person, so people would not know they were fasting. That makes sense. I am sure that even in the ancient days, they had M.E.S.S. toxins and the FAST FLUSH effect happened.
When they fasted, their bodies developed the same odors that ours do. It may have been even worse because they did not have hot daily showers, hot baths or deodorants as we do.
It became even more important for them to wash themselves if they were fasting and wanted to keep it secret. They would have to wash more than usual. They would have to wash their whole bodies. They would have to wash their mouths (or the face) because the M.E.S.S. would also be in the breath.
Fasting, unquestionably, causes a change in body odors. Sometimes the change is so drastic that even soap and hot water will not get rid of it and perfume or cologne will not cover it.
In the ancient days, people probably were not as toxic as we are today. They did not have the pesticides, the preservatives, the chemical additives, the hormones, the antibiotics, the drugs, and the pollution that surround us. Maybe plain soap and water would suffice for them.
This chapter is entitled, WATER, WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE. There are three types of water that are necessary during a fast. We have just talked about the first type, which utilizes cleansing water on the outside of the body. Believe it or not, this is the least important of the three. If you are alone, it becomes almost unimportant except that you have to be around yourself.
True to our nature in this narcissistic world, we would be more concerned about the water that washes the outside than any other. We often are not concerned how dirty our insides are, but we don't want others to see or smell a dirty outside.
Regardless of the smell or look, I recommend you keep your skin and mouth as clean as possible. The cleaner it is, the easier it is for the M.E.S.S. to come out. You can never go wrong by keeping something clean.
Washing our person during a fast has more meaning than just cleaning the outside.
The other two types of waters are the ones that are of vital importance. It is these that are the #1 thing that you must do during a fast. The rule is simple. . .
You MUST drink PLENTY of PURE WATER during your fast.
Water is essential to life.
Water is essential to health. Clean water is essential to cleansing.