Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 21:19
AC 2700. Verse 19. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the child drink. "God opened her eyes," signifies intelligence; "and she saw a well of water," signifies the Lord‘s Word from which are truths; "and she filled the bottle with water," signifies truths from the Word; "and she gave the child drink," signifies instruction in spiritual things.
AC 2701. God opened her eyes. That this signifies intelligence, is evident from the signification of "opening"--and of "God opening," and also of "eyes"--as being to give intelligence. That "eyes" signify the understanding see (n. 212), in like manner as "sight" or "seeing," (n. 2150, 2325). It is said that "God opens the eyes" when He opens the interior sight or understanding; which is effected by an influx into man’s rational, or rather into the spiritual of his rational. This is done by the way of the soul, or the internal way, unknown to the man. This influx is his state of enlightenment, in which the truths which he hears or reads are confirmed to him by a kind of perception interiorly within his intellectual. This the man believes to be innate in him, and to proceed from his own intellectual faculty; but in this he is very much mistaken; for it is an influx through heaven from the Lord into what is obscure, fallacious, and seeming with the man, which by means of the good therein causes the things which he believes to be similar to truth. But they only who are spiritual are blessed with enlightenment in the spiritual things of faith. It is this which is signified by "God opening the eyes."
 That the "eye" signifies the understanding is because the sight of the body corresponds to the sight of its spirit, which is the understanding; and because it corresponds, in the Word the understanding is signified by the "eye" in almost every place where it is mentioned, even where it is believed to be otherwise; as where the Lord says in Matthew:--
The light of the body is the eye if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light; but if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness; if therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness (Matthew 6:22, 23; Luke 11:34).
Here the "eye" is the understanding, the spiritual of which is faith, as also is evident from the explication:--"if therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness." So too in the same:--
If thy right eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from thee (Matthew 5:29; 18:9).
The "left eye" is the intellectual, but the "right eye" is its affection: that the right eye is to be plucked out means that the affection is to be subdued if it causes stumbling.
 In the same:--
Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear (Matthew 13:16);
and in Luke:--
Jesus said to the disciples, Blessed are the eyes which see the thing which ye see (Luke 10:23).
Here by the "eyes which see," intelligence and faith are signified; for their seeing the Lord, and also His miracles and works, did not make them blessed; but comprehending them with the understanding and having faith, which is "seeing with the eyes;" and obeying, which is "hearing with the ears." That to "see with the eyes" is to understand, and also to have faith, may be seen above (n. 897, 2325) for the understanding is the spiritual of the sight, and faith is the spiritual of the understanding. The sight of the eye is from the light of the world, but the sight of faith is from the light of heaven. Hence it is common to speak of seeing with the understanding, and of seeing by faith. That to "hear with the ear" is to obey, see (n. 2542).
 Also in Mark:--
Jesus said to the disciples, Do ye not yet perceive, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? having eyes see ye not? and having ears hear ye not? (Mark 8:17, 18);
where it is manifest that not to be willing to understand and not to believe, is to "have eyes and not see." In Luke:--
Jesus said of the city, If thou hadst known the things that belong unto thy peace; but now it is hid from thine eyes (Luke 19:41, 42).
And in Mark:--
This is the Lord‘s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes (Mark 12:11);
where to be "hid from the eyes," and to be "marvelous in the eyes," means to be so to the understanding, as is known to every one from the signification of the eye even in the common use of language.
AC 2702. And she saw a well of water. That this signifies the Lord’s Word from which are truths, is evident from the signification of a "well of water," and of a "fountain," as being the Word, and also doctrine from the Word, consequently also truth itself; and from the signification of "water," as being truth. That a "well in which there is water," and a "fountain," denote the Lord‘s Word, and also doctrine from the Word, consequently also truth itself, may be seen from very many passages. A "well," and not a "fountain," is spoken of here, because the spiritual church is treated of, as also in the following verses of this chapter:--Abraham reproved Abimelech because of the well which the servants of Abimelech had taken away (verse 25). So too in the twenty-sixth chapter:--
All the wells which the servants of Isaac’s father digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped up. And Isaac returned, and digged the wells of water which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father, and the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. And Isaac‘s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of living water. And they digged another well, and for that they strove not. And it came to pass in that day that Isaac’s servants came and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water (Genesis 26:15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 32).
Here by" wells" nothing else is signified than doctrinal matters about which they contended, and those about which they did not contend. Otherwise their digging wells and contending so many times about them would not be of so much importance as to be worthy of mention in the Divine Word.
 The "well" spoken of by Moses signifies in like manner the Word, or doctrine:--
They journeyed to Beer; this is the well whereof Jehovah said unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water. Then sang Israel this song: Spring up, O well; answer ye from it. The princes digged the well, the willing of the people digged it, in the law-giver, with their staves (Num. 21:16-18).
As a "well" signified these things, there was therefore this prophetic song in Israel, in which the doctrine of truth is treated of, as is evident from every particular in the internal sense. Hence came the name "Beer" (a "well"), and hence the name "Beer-sheba," and its signification in the internal sense, as being doctrine itself.
 But doctrine in which there are no truths is called a "pit," or a "well in which there is no water," as in Jeremiah:--
Their nobles have sent their little ones to the water; they came to the pits, they found no water; they returned with their vessels empty (Jeremiah 14:3);
where "waters" denote truths; and "pits where they found no water," doctrine in which there is no truth. In the same:--
My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, to hew them out pits, broken pits, that can hold no waters (Jeremiah 2:13);
where "pits" in like manner denote doctrines that are not true; and "broken pits," fabricated doctrines.
 That a "fountain" is the Word, and also doctrine, consequently truth, may be seen in Isaiah:--
The afflicted and the needy seek waters, and there are none; their tongue faileth for thirst. I Jehovah will hear them, the God of Israel will not forsake them; I will open rivers upon the hillsides, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of waters, and the dry land springs of waters (Isaiah 41:17, 18);
where the desolation of truth is treated of, which is signified by the afflicted and needy seeking for waters when there are none, and by their tongue failing for thirst; and then their consolation, refreshment, and instruction after desolation are treated of (as in the verses about Hagar now being explained), signified by Jehovah opening rivers upon the hillsides, making fountains in the midst of the valleys, and the wilderness into a pool of waters, and the dry land into springs of waters; all which things relate to the doctrine of truth, and to the affection thence derived.
 In Moses:--
Israel dwelt securely alone at the fountain of Jacob, in a land of corn and new wine; yea, his heavens drop down dew (Deut. 33:28).
The "fountain of Jacob" denotes the Word and the doctrine of truth therefrom. Because the "fountain of Jacob" signified the Word and the doctrine of truth therefrom, when the Lord came to the fountain of Jacob, He spoke with the woman of Samaria, and taught what is signified by a "fountain" and by "water," as described in John:--
Jesus came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, and Jacob‘s fountain was there Jesus therefore being wearied with His journey, sat thus by the fountain. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus saith unto her, Give Me to drink: Jesus said, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give Me to drink, thou wouldst ask of Him that He should give thee living water. Every one that drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of water springing up unto eternal life (John 4:5, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14).
As "Jacob’s fountain" signified the Word, the "water" truth, and " Samaria" the spiritual church (as is frequently the case in the Word), the Lord spoke with the woman of Samaria, and taught that the doctrine of truth is from Him; and that when it is from Him, or what is the same, from His Word, it is a fountain of water springing up unto eternal life; and that truth itself is living water.
 Again in the same:--
Jesus said, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink; who soever believeth in Me, as the Scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:37, 38).
And in the same:--
The Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of water; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes (Rev. 7:17).
In the same:--
I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely (Rev. 21:6);
"rivers of living water," and "living fountains of waters," denote truths that are from the Lord, or from His Word; for the Lord is the Word. The good of love and of charity, which is solely from the Lord, is the life of truth. He is said to be "athirst" who is in the love and affection of truth; no other can "thirst."
 These truths are also called "fountains of salvation" in Isaiah:--
With joy shall ye draw waters out of the fountains of salvation; and in that day shall ye say, Confess to Jehovah, call upon His name (Isaiah 12:3, 4).
That a "fountain" is the Word, or doctrine from it, is plain also in Joel:--
It shall come to pass in that day that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streams of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall go forth out of the house of Jehovah, and shall water the stream of Shittim (Joel 3:18);
where "waters" denote truths; and a "fountain out of the house of Jehovah," the Lord‘s Word.
 In Jeremiah:--
Behold I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the sides of the earth; and among them the blind and the lame; they shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I bring them unto fountains of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble (Jeremiah 31:8, 9);
"fountains of waters in a straight way" manifestly denote the doctrinal things of truth; the "north country," ignorance or desolation of truth; "weeping" and "supplications," their state of grief and despair; and to be "brought to the fountains of waters," refreshment and instruction in truths (as here, there Hagar and her son are treated of).
 The same things are also thus described in Isaiah:--
The wilderness and the parched land shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; budding it shall bud, and shall rejoice even with rejoicing and singing; the glory of Lebanon has been given unto it, the honor of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of Jehovah, the honor of our God. Make ye firm the enfeebled hands, and strengthen the tottering knees. The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert; and the dry place shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of waters (Isaiah 35:1-3, 5-7);
where the "wilderness" denotes the desolation of truth "waters," "streams," "lakes," and "springs of waters," the truths that are a refreshment and joy to those who have been in vastation, whose joys are there described with many words.
 In David:--
Jehovah sendeth forth fountains into the valleys, they shall run among the mountains; they shall give drink to every wild beast of the field, the wild asses shall quench their thirst. He watereth the mountains from His chambers (Ps. 104:10, 11, 13);
"fountains" denote truths "mountains," the love of good and truth; to "give drink," instructing; "wild beasts of the field," those who live from this (n. 774, 841, 908); "wild asses," those who are solely in rational truth (n. 1949-1951).
 In Moses:--
Joseph is the son of a fruitful one, the son of a fruitful one by a fountain (Gen. 49:22);
a "fountain" denotes doctrine from the Lord. In the same:--
Jehovah thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of rivers, of waters, of fountains, and of depths going forth in valley and in mountain (Deut. 8:7);
the "land" denotes the Lord’s kingdom and church (n. 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1413, 2571); which is called " good" from the good of love and charity; " rivers," "waters," "fountains," and "depths," denote the truths thence derived. In the same:--
The land of Canaan, a land of mountains and valleys, that drinketh water of the rain of heaven (Deut. 11:11).
 That "waters" are truths, both spiritual and rational, and also those of memory-knowledge, is manifest from these passages in Isaiah:--
Behold the Lord Jehovih Zebaoth doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the whole staff of bread, and the whole staff of water (Isaiah 3:1).
In the same:--
Bring ye waters to him that is thirsty; meet the fugitive with his bread (Isaiah 21:14).
In the same:--
Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters (Isaiah 32:20).
In the same:--
He that walketh in righteousnesses, and speaketh uprightnesses, shall dwell on high; his bread shall be given, his waters shall be faithful (Isaiah 33:15, 16).
In the same:--
Then shall they not thirst, He shall lead them in the desert, He shall cause the waters to flow out of the rock for them He cleaveth the rock also, and the waters flow out (Isaiah 48:21; Exod. 17:1-8; Num. 20:11, 13).
 In David:--
He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them to drink abundantly as out of the deeps. He brought streams out of the rock and caused waters to run down like a river (Ps. 78:15, 16);
where the "rock" denotes the Lord; "waters," "rivers," and "deeps" from it, denote truths from Him. In the same:--
Jehovah maketh rivers into a wilderness, and water-springs into dry ground; He maketh a wilderness into a pool of waters, and a dry land into water-springs (Ps. 107:33, 35).
In the same:--
The voice of Jehovah is upon the waters; Jehovah is upon many waters (Ps. 29:3).
In the same:--
A river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High (Ps. 46:4).
In the same:--
By the Word of Jehovah were the heavens made, and all the army of them by the breath of His mouth; He gathereth the waters of the sea together as a heap, He layeth up the deeps in storehouses (Ps. 33:6, 7).
In the same:--
Thou dost visit the earth, and delightest in it greatly; thou enrichest it, the river of God is full of waters (Ps. 65:9).
In the same:--
The waters saw Thee, O God, the waters saw Thee, the deeps also trembled; the clouds poured out waters Thy way was in the sea, and Thy path in many waters (Ps. 77:16, 17, 19).
It is manifest to every one that the " waters" here do not signify waters, and that it is not meant that the deeps trembled, nor that the way of Jehovah was in the sea, and His path in the waters; but that spiritual waters are meant, that is, spiritual things which are of truth; otherwise this would be a heap of empty words. In Isaiah:--
Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters and he that hath no silver, come ye, buy (Isaiah 55:1).
It shall come to pass in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea (Zechariah 14:8).
 Moreover where the church is treated of in the Word as about to be planted and as having been planted, and where it is described by a paradise, a garden, a grove, or by trees, it is usual for it to be also described by waters or rivers which irrigate; by which either spiritual, rational, or memory things (which are of truth) are signified--as in the description of Paradise in (Genesis 2:8, 9); which is also described by the rivers there (Genesis 2:10-14), signifying the things of wisdom and intelligence (n. 107-121). The same is true in many other places in the Word, as in Moses:--
As valleys are they planted, as gardens by the river, as sandalwood trees which Jehovah hath planted, as cedars beside the Waters; waters shall flow from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters (Num. 24:6, 7).
He took of the seed of the land, and planted it in a field of sowing, he placed it beside many waters; it budded, and became a luxuriant vine (Ezekiel 17:5, 6);
that a "vine" and a "vineyard" signify the spiritual church may be seen above (n. 1069). In the same:--
Thy mother was like a vine in thy likeness, planted by the waters; she became fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters (Ezekiel 19:10).
In the same:--
Behold Asshur was a cedar in Lebanon; the waters nourished him, the deep made him high, going with her rivers round about his plant; and she sent out her canals unto all the trees of the field (Ezekiel 31:4).
 In the same:--
Behold upon the bank of the river were very many trees on this side and on that. He said unto me, These waters issue forth toward the eastern border, and shall go down into the plain, and shall go toward the sea; and being sent into the sea the Waters are healed. And it shall be that every living soul that creepeth, in every place whither the two rivers come, shall live and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters are come thither; and they shall be healed, so that everything whithersoever the river cometh shall live. The miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given up to salt (Ezekiel 47:7, 8, 9, 11).
Here the New Jerusalem, or the Lord‘s spiritual kingdom, is described: the "waters going forth to the eastern border," signify spiritual things from celestial things, which are truths from a celestial origin; that is, faith from love and charity (n. 101, 1250). To "go down into the plain," signifies doctrinal things which are of the rational (n. 2418, 2450). To "go toward the sea," signifies to memory-knowledges; the "sea" is the collection of them (n. 28); the "living soul which creepeth," signifies their delights (n. 746, 909, 994); which will "live from the waters of the river," that is, from spiritual things from a celestial origin. "Much fish" denotes an abundance of applicable memory-knowledges (n. 40, 991). The "miry places and the marshes" denote things not applicable and impure; being "given up to salt," denotes being vastated (n. 2455). In Jeremiah:--
Blessed is the man that trusteth in Jehovah; he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, and that sendeth forth its roots by the river (Jeremiah 17:7, 8).
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth its fruit in its season (Ps. 1:3).
He showed me a pure river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb; in the midst of the street of it, and on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life bearing twelve fruits (Rev. 22:1, 2).
 Seeing that in the internal sense of the Word "waters" signify truths, therefore in the Jewish Church, for the sake of representation before the angels with whom the rituals were viewed spiritually, it was commanded that the priests and Levites should wash themselves with water when they came near to minister, and indeed out of the laver between the tent and the altar; and later, out of the brazen sea and the other lavers around the temple, which were in place of a fountain. So too for the sake of the representation was the institution of the water of sin or of purgation that was to be sprinkled upon the Levites (Num. 8:7); also that of the water of separation, from the ashes of the red heifer (Num. 19:2-19); and that the spoils from the Midianites should be cleansed by water (Num. 31:19-25).
 The waters which were given out of the rock (Exod. 17:1-8; Num. 20:1-13; Deut. 8:15) represented and signified an abundance of spiritual things or truths of faith from the Lord. The bitter waters which were healed by the wood (Exod. 15:23-25), represented and signified that the truths which are not pleasing become acceptable and grateful from good, that is, from the affection of it. "Wood" signifies good which is of affection, or of the will (n. 643). From all this it may now be known what "water" denotes in the Word, and hence what the water in baptism denotes, of which the Lord speaks thus in John:--
Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5);
namely, that "water" is the spiritual of faith, and the "spirit" the celestial of it; thus that baptism is the symbol of the regeneration of man by the Lord by means of the truths and goods of faith. Not that regeneration is effected by baptism, but by the life signified in baptism, into which life Christians who have the truths of faith, because they have the Word, must come.
AC 2703. And she filled the bottle with water. That this signifies truths therefrom, is evident from the signification of "water," as being truth--treated of just above.
AC 2704. And gave the child drink. That this signifies instruction in spiritual things, is evident from the signification of "giving to drink," as being to instruct in truths; and from the signification of the "child," as being the spiritual as to truth (n. 2697). This state, which is that of instruction, treated of in this verse, is the third state of those who are coming out of vastation or desolation; for when they come into a state of enlightenment or of heavenly light (verse 18) (n. 2699), they are then in the affection of knowing and learning truths; and when they are in this affection, they are easily and as it were spontaneously imbued with truths: those who are on earth, from the Lord’s Word or from doctrine; but those who are in heaven, from the angels, who perceive nothing more blessed and happy than to teach novitiate brethren, and imbue them with the truths and goods which are of heavenly order, and thus lead to the Lord. GENESIS 21:19 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|