Spiritual Meaning of

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 Well, Fountain

The signification of a well of water, and of a fountain, is 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.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

[4] 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.

[5] 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.

[6] 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.

[7] 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.

[8] 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).

[9] 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.

[10] 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 (AC 774, 841, 908); wild asses, those who are solely in rational truth (AC 1949-1951).

[11] 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 (AC 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).

[12] 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).

from AC 2702

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info