That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Note 10 at Eph 5:26: This verse is saying that the way the Lord sanctifies and cleanses us is through His Word. The Word of God is the water that cleanses. Jesus spoke of the Word cleansing us in Joh 15:2-3 (see note 48 at Joh 15:2).
Note 11 at Eph 5:26: Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. He set it apart and cleansed it by His Word. The Greek word used here for "word" is "RHEMA," and means "thing spoken, word" (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon). What a wonderful illustration this is of a man setting his wife apart by honoring her with his words. A wife will try to live up to that which her husband speaks over her. If his words are words that edify and build her up, she will want to live up to those words. If his words are words that tear her down, he will discourage her and cause her to be unresponsive in their relationship.