I’ve been pondering a passage from the Gospel of John today:
Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.John 7:37-38
Jeremiah testified that God is the “fountain of living waters” (Jeremiah 2:13, 17:13). Nephi taught the same thing, adding that those “living waters” represent the love of God. (See 1 Nephi 11:15.) Zechariah prophesied that in the last days, when the Lord stands upon the Mount of Olives, “living waters shall go out from Jerusalem” (Zechariah 14:8) and will heal the land.
Jesus testified to the Samaritan woman at the well that He could give her water which would forever quench her thirst. “The water that I shall give,” He said, “shall be in [thee] a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). And in the passage above, He says not only that He is the source of living water, but that all those who believe in Him will become sources of water themselves, with rivers flowing out of their bellies!
A word of caution: Nephi saw that as the water moved downstream, it became filthy. (See 1 Nephi 15:27.) It’s always a good idea to point people back to the primary source. That’s why Moroni’s heartfelt desire was to help us “come unto the fountain of all righteousness” (Ether 8:26; see also Ether 12:28). Nevertheless, what a powerful blessing that we can be filled with the love of God and that we can help others to feel it as well!
Water flowing out of your belly—instead of your mouth—sounds like something that you have fully internalized, something that is a part of you. As we draw close to the fountain, we can in turn become a source of living water to other people.
Today, I will strive to draw closer to Jesus Christ, so that I can receive His love and so that I can be empowered to share that love with others.
Thank you! I really enjoy your insights! They have led me to many additional thoughts and discoveries in my own study.
Today, you warned about the water from Christ becoming polluted as it got further away from Him, the source, and the need to go to the source. I had not thought about that in the Tree of Life vision. I suppose it could represent the philosophies of men that mingle in with the truth, giving rise to false ideas.
While this surely can happen with ideas of men, I don’t think the tree of life vision necessarily supports that. My understanding is that there are 2 COMPETING fountains in the vision, not one that becomes corrupted as it gets further from the source.
“And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the FOUNTAIN of filthy water which thy father saw; yea, even the river of which he spake; and the depths thereof are the depths of hell.” 1 Nephi 12:16
What do you think?
Thank you for the kind words about my blog! I’m glad you have found it useful in your own scripture study!
I hadn’t thought about the idea that there were two fountains in the vision. It’s true that in chapter 11, Nephi describes “the fountain of living waters,” which he identifies as “the tree of life.” Later, in chapter 12, the angel shows him “the fountain of filthy water which thy father saw…even the river.”
The word fountain appears twice in Lehi’s dream, once associated with the tree (the path leading to the tree passed by the head of the fountain, v. 20), and once representing the river in which many people drowned (v. 32), which Nephi later clarified was filled with filthy water (1 Nephi 15:27).
Since neither Nephi nor his father said that there were two fountains, I have tended to group those images together, which is how I arrived at the interpretation that the water started pure and became filthy downstream. However, I think it is plausible to simply say that the tree is the “fountain of living water,” and that both Lehi and Nephi separately refer to the river of filthy water as a “fountain” as well.
Thanks for sharing your interpretation!