yes, it certainly does– so much so that last night the wind broke a window on our home. I was baffled–I asked the Lord–why did you allow this? What am I to learn from this? Even though at the time I was in the midst of another trial–I still asked. All I kept hearing was the verse below. It is easy to try to put our hands around something that the Spirit is doing–to try and contain it–to figure it out–to control it–to disect it–but…the wind blows where it wishes. And it breaks when it wants to break–it brings life when it wants to bring life. So the Spirit operates the same–who am I to say–no You can not do that.
John 3:5-8 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and where it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit. The word for wind here is not that usually so rendered [anemos (NT:417)], which means a gale; but that which signifies the ‘breath’ of life [pneuma (NT:4151) = ruwach (OT:7307), anima], or the gentle zephyr. Hence, it is that in the Old Testament, “breath” and “spirit” are constantly interchanged, as analogous (see Job 27:3; 33:4; Ezekiel 37:9-14). The laws which govern the motion of the winds have, indeed, been partially discovered; but the risings, fallings, and change in direction many times in a day, of those gentle breezes here referred to, will probably ever be a mystery to us: So of the operation of the Holy Spirit in the new birth. (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
1. That the Spirit, in regeneration, works arbitrarily, and as a free agent. The wind bloweth where it listeth for us, and does not attend our order, nor is subject to our command. God directs it; it fulfils his word, Psalms 148:8. The Spirit dispenses his influences where, and when, on whom, and in what measure and degree, he pleases, dividing to every man severally as he will, 1 Corinthians 12:11.
2. That he works powerfully, and with evident effects: Thou hearest the sound thereof; though its causes are hidden, its effects are manifest. When the soul is brought to mourn for sin, to groan under the burden of corruption, to breathe after Christ, to cry Abba-Father, then we hear the sound of the Spirit, we find he is at work, as Acts 9:11, Behold he prayeth.
3. That he works mysteriously, and in secret hidden ways: Thou canst not tell whence it comes, nor whither it goes. How it gathers and how it spends its strength is a riddle to us; so the manner and methods of the Spirit’s working are a mystery. Which way went the Spirit? 1 Kings 22:24. See Ecclesiastes 11:5, and compare it with Psalms 139:14.
(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition)
[The wind bloweth …] Nicodemus had objected to the doctrine because he did not understand how it COULD BE. Jesus shows him that he ought not to reject it on that account, for he constantly believed things quite as difficult. It might appear incomprehensible, but it was to be judged of by its EFFECTS. As in this case of the wind, the effects were seen, the sound was heard, important CHANGES were produced by it, trees and clouds were moved, yet the wind is not seen, nor do we know whence it comes, nor by what laws it is governed; so it is with the operations of the Spirit. We see the changes produced. Men just now sinful become holy; the thoughtless become serious; the licentious become pure; the vicious, moral; the moral, religious; the prayerless, prayerful; the rebellious and obstinate, meek, and mild, and gentle. When we see such changes, we ought no more to doubt that they are produced by some cause-by some mighty agent, than when we see the trees moved, or the waters of the ocean piled on heaps, or feet the cooling effects of a summer’s breeze. In those cases we attribute it to the “wind,” though we see it not, and though we do not understand its operations. We may learn, hence:
1. that the proper evidence of conversion is the EFFECT on the life.
2. that we are not too curiously to search for the CAUSE or MANNER of the change.
3. that God has power over the most hardened sinner to change him, as he has power over the loftiest oak, to bring it down by a sweeping blast.
4. that there may be great VARIETY in the modes of the operation of the Spirit. As the “wind” sometimes sweeps with a tempest, and prostrates all before it, and sometimes breathes upon us in a mild evening zephyr, so it is with the operations of the Spirit. The sinner sometimes trembles and is prostrate before the truth, and sometimes is sweetly and gently drawn to the cross of Jesus.
[Where it listeth] Where it “wills” or “pleases.”
[So is every one …] Everyone that is born of the Spirit is, in some respects, like the effects of the wind. You see it not, you cannot discern its laws, but you see its effects,” and you know therefore that it does exist and operate. Nicodemus’ objection was, that he could not “see” this change, or perceive “how” it could be. Jesus tells him that he should not reject a doctrine merely because he could not understand it. Neither could the “wind” be seen, but its effects were well known, and no one doubted the existence or the power of the agent. Compare Ecclesiastes 11:5. (from Barnes’ Notes)
[The wind bloweth] Though the manner in which this new birth is effected by the divine Spirit, be incomprehensible to us, yet we must not, on this ground, suppose it to be impossible. The wind blows in a variety of directions-we hear its sound, perceive its operation in the motion of the trees, etc., and feel it on ourselves-but we cannot discern the air itself; we only know that it exists by the effects which it produces: so is everyone who is born of the Spirit: the effects are as discernible and as sensible as those of the wind; but itself we cannot see. But he who is born of God knows that he is thus born: the Spirit itself, the grand agent in this new birth, beareth witness with his spirit, that he is born of God, Romans 8:16; for, he that believeth hath the witness in himself, 1 John 4:13, and 5:10; Galatians 4:6. And so does this Spirit work in and by him that others, though they see not the principle, can easily discern the change produced; for whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world, 1 John 5:4. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary)
In this verse there is a play on words which comes through in Greek or in Hebrew but is difficult to bring out in English. In Greek, as in Hebrew, the same word may mean either wind or “spirit.” In this context wind is the primary comparison, and so TEV and most other translations render it in that way. Some translations add a footnote, indicating that the word for wind may also mean “spirit” (BJ, JB, NEB, NAB, Zür).
Here, as in verse 6, Jesus is speaking in parables. He is drawing an analogy between something that happens in this world (the freedom of the wind to blow where it will), and what happens in the realm where God’s Spirit operates (the freedom of the Spirit to give spiritual birth to whomever he will).
In some languages it may be impossible to speak of an inanimate force (“wind”) as “wishing.” The closest equivalent may be “The wind blows in any and all directions” or “The wind blows now in one direction and then in another direction.” In some receptor languages an equivalent phrase would be “You never know from what direction the wind will be blowing.”
Some languages have no noun for “wind” but only a verb “to blow,” which refers to the movement of air through the atmosphere. The equivalent expression in such instances would be “There is blowing in any and all directions.”
It is not even possible in some languages to speak of “the wind making a sound.” The wind moves objects or comes in contact with objects and the objects make a noise. Note also that it is the wind that “comes” and “blows” and not the sound; but it may not be possible to speak of a wind coming or going, if such verbs are restricted to the movement of animate objects. An equivalent may be “You do not know from where it is blowing or to where it is blowing.”
It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit may be rendered “This is just what happens with everyone to whom the Spirit gives birth,” but it may be important to use a verb meaning “rebirth” or “gives new life to.” Otherwise, the reference might be understood to be to some malevolent spirit giving supernatural birth to a person. The use of the fuller phrase “Holy Spirit” may remove this possible misinterpretation. (from the UBS Handbook Series)