Average reading time is about 5 minutesAn Amazing Fact: Do you know why barbershops have a red, blue, and white spiral out front? It’s not from patriotic roots. During the Middle Ages, dentistry in Europe was practiced by “barber-surgeons.” These community professionals served the townspeople by performing a wide variety of services, which ranged from cutting hair, extracting teeth, and bloodletting.
For hundreds of years, physicians would bleed people with fevers believing they had too much blood. Sometimes light bleeding was accomplished by applying leaches! For more intense bleeding, the patient would hold the top of a ceramic pillar with their hand while the physician made an incision in the wrist, allowing the blood to drain down the pillar where they measured it in a basin. Physicians would examine the blood’s color and quality as it ran spiraling down the pole into the basin. The reason for the two colors on the pole is because veins are generally blue and arteries red.
Gradually, dentistry and surgery were taken over by specialists and the barber was left with his scissors and comb. But the spiral pole still endures. It makes us shudder to think that people once believed bloodletting would bring healing!
Yet John writes, “This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. … And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one” (1 John 5:6–8).
Some Bible students believe water symbolized the beginning of Christ’s ministry with baptism in the Jordan and that blood symbolized His final work on the cross of Calvary. The blood of Christ, which ran down the cross, has most definitely brought healing forgiveness to our world. Because Jesus let His own precious blood flow, we may have eternal life. Christ’s blood bears witness. Remember this the next time you see a barber’s pole.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; Matthew 26:27For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:28