An English expression meaning 'to undergo great hardships', or 'to face great danger'.

This may or may not come from the ordeal by fire and the ordeal by water, both used to test for guilt in the Middle Ages. In the ordeal by fire, a man was made to hold or walk on red-hot iron. After three days, the wound was inspected, and if it had healed over, the man was innocent. The ordeal by water worked the same way; the arm was plunged into boiling water, and after three days examined, etc. There was also the ordeal by cold water, in which the person being tried would be bound, and dropped in to a body of water. If they sunk to a certain depth, they were innocent; if they did not sink, they were guilty.

The account I give above is the more common one (in my experience, anyway), but liveforever has almost certainly found the source that put this phrase into common usage.

The expression "to go through fire and water" is a Biblical quotation, citing Psalm 66, here reproduced in the King James version:

1 Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands:
2 Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.
3 Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.
4 All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.
5 Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men.
6 He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him.
7 He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.
8 O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:
9 Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.
10 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
11 Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.
12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.
13 I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows,
14 Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.
16 Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.
17 I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.

It occurs to me, non sequitur, that "Thou broughtest us into the net" is an excellent, out of context pseudo-Biblical quotation to use, in our particular circumstances.

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