A woman standing outside in the middle of a rain shower looking up and smiling. With trees and bushes in the background.
Bible Study

What Rain in the Bible Symbolizes & Why It Matters 

I’ve always loved rainy days. There is something so peaceful about the sound of rain hitting the ground. Something so relaxing about the smell of the earth. And something so calming about looking upon grey skies.  

It makes me want to curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee and a good book.  

But while I love rainy days, what I love even more is discovering what God has to say about rain.  

Because when we take a look at what rain in the Bible symbolizes . . . it’s quite fascinating.

And it may just teach us to see the next rainy day as an invitation:

  • To slow down.
  • To sit still in God’s Presence.
  • To spend time in His Word and prayer.

So the Holy Spirit can pour His power, love, and peace over our weary souls and parched hearts.

“Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” 

-Hosea 6:3 NLT

The Importance of Rain

The importance of rain can be seen when we study the ancient times in which the Bible was written. Because rain had very real practical and economic implications on their everyday lives. 

The amount of rainfall they had during the rainy season in the land of Israel determined whether they had a good harvest or a famine.

A season of rain or a season of drought could be the difference between surviving or starving. 

This is why rain quickly became a symbol of God to the people of Israel. Because it was seen as a sign of God revealing either His blessings. Or His judgement. 

Now, all living things, from plants to wild animals to human beings depend on rain for life, nourishment, and sustenance. So, rain is important to many different cultures and people groups. 

But in ancient Israel, the significance of rain could not be overstated for geographical reasons as well.  

In Egypt, the Nile River kept the land lush and well-irrigated. But when God rescued the Israelites out of Egypt, He brought them into a dry and dusty land. A land that hardly ever sees rain in summer.  

And why would He lead His people to a place like this? 

Because this land was dependent on the heavens to provide rain. Which meant the Israelites would have to depend on Him.  

They would have to turn to Him.

  • Pray to Him.
  • Seek Him.
  • Ask Him to send rain.
  • And trust Him to meet their needs.  

Because with God, it’s all about our relationship.  

While different cultures saw rain as a good omen, a sign of good luck, or even a symbol of fertility for the land. The Jewish people knew the God of Israel was the One behind it all.  

“The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.” 

-Deuteronomy 11:10-12 NIV

Biblical Meaning of Rain

According to Strong’s one Hebrew word for rain is “geshem” which means a shower – rain, shower.  

But there are a few other Hebrew words used in the many Bible verses about rain including: 

  • Matar – rain, downpour. 
  • Malqosh – latter rain, spring rain. 
  • Yoreh – the early rain. 
  • Zerem – a flood of rain, rainstorm, downpour. 
  • Sagrir – steady or persistent rain.  
  • Sair – raindrop.  

Just to name a few. And just like there are different Hebrew words for rain, there are many different meanings for rain in the Word of God as well.  

A stormy downpour could be seen as a powerful symbol of God’s judgement, displeasure, wrath, or even simply a means to display His great strength.  

While a gentle rain could be seen as meaning:  

  • Cleansing and purification. 
  • Rebirth and renewal. 
  • Blessings and abundance. 
  • Or Spiritual refreshment.  

“So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul—then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil.”  

-Deuteronomy 11:13-14 NIV
A sunrise over a river, forests, and a town. And the words, "The earth and everything in it declares the glory of God."

What does rain symbolize in the Bible?

God’s Word has a lot to say about the symbolism of rain. And it’s really quite interesting when we take the time to look at it all.  

So, we’re going to explore 6 very neat examples of rain symbolism in the Bible. 

1) What Rain in the Bible Symbolizes: God’s Blessings

Being a part of an agricultural society, rain was important for the livelihood of the people in Biblical times.  

No rain meant no crops.  

Like it says in the Book of Joel: 

“Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you— The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month.” 

-Joel 2:23 ESV

The former rain referred to the spring rains that prepared the soil to receive and nourish the seeds. And the latter rain referred to the autumn rains that ensured a good harvest.  

In the Israelite culture, rain revealed the blessings of God. And a gentle rain today can remind us that God is the One who provides good things for His people.  

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” 

-James 1:17 NIV

“If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.”  

-Leviticus 26:3-4 ESV
A teal background and the words, "Our Heavenly Father knows what's best for us."

2) What Rain in the Bible Symbolizes: God’s Judgement

Our Heavenly Father knows what’s best for us. Sometimes this means blessings. And sometimes it means discipline. 

This is why in the Bible rain can be seen as having negative connotations. Like when it comes down violently as a heavy rain or a flood due to God’s wrath and judgement.  

In the Old Testament book of Genesis, we see this happen in the story of Noah. Many of us grew up hearing this story. But while the pictures in our children’s Bibles of Noah’s Ark may show a little boat with cute animals, the real story is not a very pretty picture.  

The people in Noah’s day were wicked and evil. They were doing awful things you wouldn’t even want to imagine. And because of this, God decided to destroy every living creature through a flood that covered the entire face of the earth.  

Noah, his family, and all those animals spent almost an entire year on the ark. And when they finally left the ark to walk on dry land, God gave them the rainbow as a sign of the covenant He made with Noah to never destroy the earth with a flood again.  

(In the Book of Revelation, it is revealed that in the end times, God will use fire, not rain, to judge the earth.) 

Another one of the negative meanings of rain in the Bible is when God’s judgement comes through a lack of rain.  

The Prophet Elijah prayed that it wouldn’t rain in the whole land for 3 years as a sign of God’s discipline and judgement on the people.  

And it didn’t. (That is a long time with no rain!)  

Then after those long three years, he prayed that it would rain.  

And it did. (Talk about the power of prayer!) 

“Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” 

-1 Kings 17:1 NIV

“Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” 

-James 5:17-18 NIV

“Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you.” 

-Deuteronomy 11:16-17 NIV
Blue skies and cirrus clouds over mountains. And the words, "Our prayers are powerful. And they can move mountains. (Matthew 27:20)

3) What Rain in the Bible Symbolizes: God’s Provision

Because abundant rain meant a good harvest in Biblical times, it was often seen as a symbol of God’s provision.  

One of God’s names is Jehovah Jireh which means “the Lord will provide”.  

The first time we see this name is in Genesis 22:14 when Abraham was called to sacrifice Isaac, but the Lord stopped him. And then he looked up to see a ram caught in the thickets. He sacrificed the ram to the Lord and called him Jehovah Jireh.  

In this instance, God provided life for Isaac. And a sacrifice to take his place.  

In the same way, God provides us with life. And the perfect sacrifice in Jesus Christ to take our place.  

Which is a pretty amazing provision.  

“So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’” 

-Genesis 22:14 NIV

4) What Rain in the Bible Symbolizes: God’s Presence

The Holy Spirit living in us is how we experience God’s Presence. And rain can be seen as a symbol of the Holy Spirit falling down on His people.  

Empowering them to do His will in this world.  

  • To go out and be a light in the dark.  
  • To speak truth and hope and life to those who are lost.  
  • And to point people to the only One who can save them.  

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” 

-John 17:3 NIV
Water droplets falling into water. And the verse, "Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord." -Lamentations 2:19 NIV

5) What Rain in the Bible Symbolizes: New Beginnings

Just like new grass that springs up after a rain of spring, because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross we have been given new life. A second chance. An opportunity to try again.  

And a new beginning full of possibilities.  

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

-Isaiah 43:19 NIV

6) What Rain in the Bible Symbolizes: Spiritual Growth

Just like the falling rain causes the plants and trees to grow, in our spiritual journey, rain can symbolize spiritual awakening and growth.  

Rain was often a symbol of purification in Biblical times. A washing away of the dirt and filth so they could be clean. Whenever anyone in the nation of Israel was made unclean, they had to wash in water before they could be considered clean again.  

In our spiritual lives, while we have already been made forever clean by the blood of Jesus, we still need to practice daily confession.  

Maybe we need to:

  • Confess a sin we’ve been ignoring.
  • Ask God to search our hearts for hidden sins.
  • Forgive someone.
  • Give up something God has been telling us isn’t good for us.

Like the parched grass on a rainy day, as we confess our sins and accept His forgiveness, our dry and weary souls will find spiritual refreshment.  

And as we spend time in His Word, letting His teaching fall on our hearts like rain while pouring out our hearts before Him in prayer, we will grow in our trust and knowledge of Him.  

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” 

-Isaiah 44:3 NIV

“I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’” 

-Hosea 10:12 NLT

In the New Testament, Jesus said He was the living water who gives us eternal life (John 4:10-14).  

So, when we don’t spend time with Him, our souls start to wither up like a plant that has been deprived of life-giving water.  

But when we spend time with Him every day, we will flourish like a tree planted by the water.  

Just like it says in the Book of Psalms: 

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” 

-Psalm 1:1-3 ESV
A green river winding through a desert. And the words, "Jesus is the living water that gives us eternal life."

What if I dream about rain?

The meaning of your dream about rain could mean many different things such as: 

Renewal: 

Maybe your dream of rain is God revealing that you are about to go through a period of transformation or transition.  

Cleansing: 

Maybe God is showing you that there are things in your past that you need to let go of and let Him heal.  

Release: 

A dream of rain could symbolize a release of suppressed emotions or a need to let the tears fall down as you let your feelings flow out. It could also simply mean a desire within your heart to be able to express yourself.  

Growth: 

Rain can symbolize a need for nourishment so we can grow. Or it can simply be a sign of entering in or being in a season of growth.  

Emotions: 

It helps to consider the kind of rain in your dream as well. A gentle rain may mean a season of calm and peace as we relax in God’s blessings. While a torrential downpour or flooding could suggest inner turmoil or volatile emotions in our hearts that we need to let God help us deal with.    

Hope:  

If in your dream of rain, a rainbow appears afterward, this could be a symbol of hope, promise, and good things ahead for you.  

The most important thing though is to bring your rain dream to God.

  • Consider all of it in light of Scripture (because God will never contradict that).
  • Pray about it. 
  • And seek wise, Christian counsel.  

If God has given you a dream about rain to show you something, He will make that clear. One way or another.  

In His perfect way. And His perfect timing.  

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.” 

-James 5:7 NIV
Dark storm clouds and lighting and the words, "Even when storms are raging outside and our hearts are troubled inside, we can trust that the God who loves us will be right by our side."

Why It Matters: The Spiritual Meaning of Rain. 

Because rain had such an effect on their daily lives in Biblical times, it had a lot of spiritual significance to them. And there can be many spiritual meanings of rain in our lives as well.  

  • A drought can symbolize our hearts’ need for the True Living Water.  
  • A flood can signify how seriously God takes sin and how He can use His great power to wipe out the things that would love to destroy us. 
  • A downpour can be reflective of the Holy Spirit’s drenching power that brings spiritual renewal.  
  • A storm can communicate God’s amazing power and remind us that He is always there to be our refuge and strength when life is tumultuous.  
  • A gentle rain shower can be a powerful symbol of God’s forgiveness and healing which can lead to spiritual growth.  

The whole Earth shouts of God’s glory. And when we take the time to look, listen, and pay attention we can see Him in it all.  

  • The sunshine. The rain.  
  • The laughter. And the pain.  

This is why it matters. Because when we take the time to study things like rain symbolism in the Bible, it teaches us more about God. It helps us get to know Him more. To grow in our faith and trust in Him.  

Because even when storms are raging outside, and our hearts are troubled inside, we can trust that the God who loves us will be right by our side.  

Did you find this fascinating? Then please share it so it can bless others! 

And be sure to check out these other neat articles as well! 

A woman standing outside in the middle of a rain shower looking up and smiling. With trees and bushes in the background. And the words, "What Rain in the Bible Symbolizes and Why It Matters."

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