In society, we often hear that ?blood is thicker than water?, when people refer to family ties being more important than anything else. But this saying calls for further investigation. Are we using this saying correctly? And are we actually more loving to family members than our friends?
Turns out we may be using the idiom ?blood is thicker than water? completely incorrectly. We all believe it means that family relationships are most important. We assume that blood refers to our family and water would be ties with friends and strangers, people who aren?t really linked to us. What if this saying is not referring to family at all? There are many theories about where this idiom and its different versions came about. Some say a German writer, others say the Talmud. One referenced the Islamic idea of ?milk kinship? and many mentioned the Bible without giving any reference verse.
There is one other phrase that people believe may be the original saying to the modern ?blood is thicker than water?. It goes like this:
?Blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb?
This is interesting because those involved in a covenant are involved in a serious and official agreement or promise. The saying implies that those who are in some way affiliated together in a covenant are closer than of the ?water? of the womb or their family. This is completely opposite of what was originally thought. ?Blood of the covenant? is a phrase often used when talking of members of the covenant first made with Abraham in the Holy Bible, The Quran, and The Torah. These biblical covenants deal with all Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Part of the covenant is that God would fight their battles and always leave a remnant of the house of Israel (Abraham?s seed) so they could continue to populate the earth with seed as innumerable as the sand on the shore and the stars in the sky (Genesis 22:17). Covenants are parts of all religions and governments, as they are not only promises made between god(s) and man but also can be between man and the law. This idiom of ?blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb? then is important for all to consider as most of us have made covenants of some sort. In the marriage ?covenant?, the couple separates from their families and join as one. Another example would be ?belonging? to a country as a citizen. You are joined as one with fellow citizens of the country to serve and protect your rights.
Water in the womb refers to the water produced by the mother to protect her fetus. This includes the amniotic sac, which is what breaks when a mother?s ?water breaks? signaling the start of labor to give birth. The fetus cannot survive without the amniotic fluid, being crucial to the baby?s protection and lung growth.
It is quite interesting how we went from the modern ?family ties are more important? to ?those in the same covenant with you are more important than anything, including family?. Thankfully, there are often phrases and idioms in life that have many implications to them and we can use all of them for our good. This isn?t a matter of what saying is ?correct? but rather, how we can apply all implications to our personal life.
One writer argues that ??blood is thicker than water? actually means that bloodshed on the battlefield creates stronger ties than the water of the womb does, or family ties? (Matteo). This means that what we go through with people is really what makes our blood thicker than water. This can also be applied to the covenant idiom. When we go through something with someone, we become closer and actual family ties fade away. This is not to say we dismiss our family, but rather that after going through life?s ?battlefields? with others, they become close enough to us that they are family to us though not of our blood.
This battlefield analogy includes our own family. One can have a parent absent in their life and without going through life?s experiences with this someone, family ties can mean nothing to the child. When interviewing various people for this article, all agreed that it isn?t so much about who someone is to you technically but rather what they?ve become in your life. One remarked that ?family is always most important, but there are those few friends who have reached the level of family to me.?
I thought my interview questions would become a realization that often we treat our family worse than the stranger on the street. My brother always says when he?s apologizing to me, ?I hurt the ones I love the most!?. But instead, we ended up talking about fictive kin relationships. This is when someone becomes family through shared experiences. ?They?re like a brother/sister to me? is a common sentence when referring to these people. This also may deal with adopted family members. Though one may not share blood, everything else is shared, making them as much one?s family as anyone.
This short and flawed study on this not-so-simple idiom goes to show it does not matter who someone is as much as what you?ve gone through together. Family bonds are made through shared experiences, covenants, and bloodshed on the battlefield. This is what makes blood thicker than water.
Matteo, Anna. ?Is blood thicker than water?? Learningenglish.voanews.com. Web.
?Original meaning of blood is thicker than water, is it real?? English.stackexchange.com. Web.
?Where did the phrase ?The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb? come from?? Quora.com. Web.