Water is a universal cleansing and purifying agent. So it means getting rid of mala (impurity) and having chitta shuddi (purity of mind). You have to emerge as purified being. That is also the symbol behind baptism --- a cleansing of and getting rid of all sin and emerging sinless, spotless, pure. Fire is also a universal purifying agent. Our fire ceremony also symbolises thorough burning away of all dross - of all that is impure, of all that is contrary to Divinity - and emerge as pure Spirit. This is why it is a symbol of the same rebirth Jesus referred to.
It is rebirth from passion to purity; and then from material consciousness into a state of spiritual consciousness to emerge as a new being, aware of oneself as connected with the Supreme Universal Soul, as a spiritual being beyond time and space, without birth and death, name and form, ever pure, ever free, ever full, ever Divine. It is a rebirth of your very identity - a dying to the old self and being born into a new identity where you know of yourself only as related to the eternal Being. It is rebirth into the Spirit, plunging once again into Satchidananda.
When you wake up from deep sleep, you wake up into a new reality. Waking up should constitute a rebirth into divine life - a rebirth into total truthfulness. For a spiritual aspirant, there should be a daily rebirth - a leaving behind of all that is dross, gross, undivine --- and emerging into a new state of shining purity, spirituality and total divinity. Again and again there should be a rebirth until you become like the pure Cosmic Being, partaking of His total purity, partaking of His glorious Divine nature.
Each daybreak should constitute a call to rebirth. This is the invariable condition for the realisation of Reality. It is a call to each one of you to truthfulness, absolute purity in conduct and character, to a continuous compassion and a reluctance to hurt or harm anything created by God. May we be reborn again and again! May you shine with Divinity! God bless you!
This article is a chapter from the book Daily Swadhyaya: http://www.dlshq.org/religions/calltorebirth.htm.