Truth as Nourishment

Now when Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his mother’s brother Laban, and the sheep of his mother’s brother Laban, Jacob went up and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of his mother’s brother Laban. Genesis 29:10

Dear members and friends,

Water plays a particularly important role in all ancient myths and legends. The interrelationship between water, humans, and the quality of the land appears very often in the Bible as early as in Genesis 2 and even in the last chapter of Revelation. The Bible frequently mentions something called “the water of life.” Indeed, water means life to humans. Biologically and psychologically, water is essential to us: we spend nine months in our mother’s water-filled womb while our body is about 70% water. In other words, all living creatures on Earth – including humans – cannot survive long without water. 

According to Swedenborg, water in the Bible symbolizes truth in general. As water nourishes the body, truth nourishes the spirit. Also, just as our body cannot generate the water necessary for its survival by itself, the human mind cannot generate truth necessary for its spiritual survival by itself. According to Swedenborg, a well in an area where there is no river or lake symbolizes the Word, which is the source of all truths necessary for our spiritual survival and growth. In other words, it is vital that humans learn and cultivate truth from the Word, and not from their own cognitive practices. In the story of Jacob, the first place he chose to stop after his long journey was a well, where people gathered for water. That is where he met Rachel, as if it were all planned by God. Symbolically, Jacob means our desire to seek truth, and Rachel means the passion for inner truth, which is the deeper and more essential truth. Swedenborg distinguishes truths that we learn in two categories: inner and outer or internal and external. Acquiring inner truth means learning and understanding the importance of a spiritual life and the willingness to live by it. Acquiring outer truth means learning and understanding the importance of life on Earth and the willingness to pursue and attain earthly achievement.

The most important question that God asks us is, “what do you think is your true self, body or mind?”  

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee