This is why the Lord says that there is spirit and life in his words, that he is the light that enlightens, and that he is the truth, as the following passages clearly show:
Jesus said, "The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life." (John 6:63)
Jesus said to the woman by Jacob's well, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is who is saying to you, 'Give me something to drink,' you would ask him and he would give you living water. Those who drink some of the water that I will give will not become thirsty to eternity. The water that I will give will become in them a well of water gushing for eternal life." (John 4:6, 10, 14)
Here as in Deuteronomy 33:28, "Jacob's well" means the Word. The Lord sat at that location and spoke with the woman because he is the Word. The "living water" means the truth in the Word.
Jesus said, "If any are thirsty, they must come to me and drink. If any believe in me, as Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow out of their bellies." (John 7:37, 38)
Peter said to Jesus, "You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68)
Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away; my words will not pass away." (Mark 13:31)
The Lord's words are truth and life because he himself is truth and life, as he teaches in John: "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Also in John, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In it there was life, and that life was the light for humankind" (John 1:1, 4). "The Word" means the Lord in his role as divine truth. He alone has life and light. This is why the Word, which is from the Lord and is the Lord, is called the fountain of living waters (Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13; 31:9); the fountain of salvation (Isaiah 12:3); the fountain (Zechariah 13:1); and a river of water of life (Revelation 22:1). This is why it says that the Lamb who is in the middle of the throne will shepherd people and lead them to living fountains of waters (Revelation 7:17). There are other passages where the Word is also called the sanctuary and the tent where the Lord dwells with humankind [Ezekiel 37:26-28; Revelation 21:3].
Our earthly self, however, is incapable of being convinced by these quotations that the Word is divine truth itself in which there is divine wisdom and divine life. Our earthly self evaluates the Word on the basis of style and does not see those qualities in its style. Nevertheless, the style of the Word is the divine style itself. There is no comparison between it and all other styles, no matter how sublime and excellent they may seem. The nature of the Word's style is that it has holiness in every meaning and every word; in fact, in some passages there is holiness in the very letters. As a result, the Word connects us to the Lord and opens heaven.
There are two things that emanate from the Lord: divine love and divine wisdom (or what amounts to the same thing, divine goodness and divine truth). In its essence the Word is each of these. Because the Word connects us to the Lord and opens heaven, as I just said, therefore the Word fills us with love for what is good and wisdom about what is true. It fills our will with love for what is good and our intellect with wisdom about what is true. This is how we receive life through the Word.
It is very important to realize, however, that the only people who receive life from the Word are those who read it for two purposes: to draw divine truths from it because it is the fountain of truth; and to apply to their life the divine truths they have drawn. The opposite happens to people who read the Word only with the purpose of increasing their status and gaining the world [see Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36; Luke 9:25].
Any of us who are unaware that the Word has a spiritual meaning, like a soul within its body, have nothing else to judge the Word by except its literal meaning. Yet the literal meaning is like a case that contains the precious objects of the spiritual meaning. When we are unaware of the spiritual meaning, we cannot judge the divine holiness of the Word any more than we could judge a precious stone on the basis of the ore that envelops it, which sometimes looks very ordinary. Or imagine a case made out of jasper, lapis lazuli, amianthus (also called mica), or agate that contains rows of diamonds, rubies, sardonyxes, oriental topazes, and so on. If we do not realize it contains gems, it is no wonder we do not value the case any more than the worth of the material it is visibly made of. It is the same with the Word's literal meaning.
Therefore to prevent people from doubting that the Word is divine and most holy, the Lord has revealed to me its inner meaning, a meaning that is essentially spiritual and exists within its outer, earthly meaning like a soul in a body. The inner meaning is the spirit that brings the letter to life. The inner meaning has the power to prove even to our earthly self that the Word is divine and holy—provided we are willing to be convinced.
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