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Spoke 13 - Mem

1 Chronicles, Habakkuk, Philemon

A Fountain of Living Waters

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters (mayim) cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2:14 (Spoke 13, Cycle 2)

The name of the Thirteenth Letter is based on the word mayim, meaning water. In the ancient Hebrew script, the pictograph for Mem was drawn as a wavy line indicating waves of water and is still seen in the Latin M. When written at the end of a word, it takes the final form ם which is more square, and smooth like calm water. The KeyWord table displays its profound connection with the meaning of its name. God used four of these KeyWords to describe the Flood of Noah, the greatest hydrological event in the history of the world:

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain (matar) upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. ... And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters (mayim) of the flood (mabul) were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains (ma'ayin) of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

Genesis 7:4ff

Mem KeyWordsThe Flood also is one of the greatest typological events in the Bible. It is a precursor (type) of the Universal Judgment that awaits till the End of Time (Rev 20:12, Spoke 22, BW book pg 374). This is the Divine Judgment Christ suffered for us when He was "baptized" (Luke 12:50) on the Cross, and so it is that water baptism symbolizes our union with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom 6:4). Scripture therefore declares Baptism to be the antitype (fulfillment) corresponding to the type (foreshadow) of the Flood (1 Pet 3:20). Just as the Flood cleansed the ancient world of sinners, so we are cleansed by entering Christ through faith, symbolized by Baptism. Both symbols are also linked with the Dove. All three fit together like pieces of a puzzle to form a threefold typological unity. As a group, they are independent in that Bible never links all three at once, but there are many verses that link them pair-wise. For example, Genesis 8:11 links the Dove with the Flood, 1 Peter 3:20 links Baptism with the Flood, and Matthew 3:16 links the Dove with Baptism. These relations can be represented by a Venn Diagram This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window. The three circles represent the three symbols. The verses connecting the pairs are listed in the space where the circles overlap. Taken together, they display a Divine unity that no single Book of the Bible reveals by itself. This is why we must understand the whole Bible before we can really understand its parts.

Venn Diagram of threefold typological unity
  1. Gen 8:11: And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
  2. 1 Pet 3:18ff: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit: ... when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure (antitype) whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
  3. Mat 3:16: And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

The thing so impressive here is that the Flood happened millennia before the Cross, yet it fits like a perfectly pre-designed puzzle piece to integrate with the Gospel that was yet to come! There are innumerable examples of structures like this in the Bible. This is why Paul said that Scripture "preached the Gospel to Abraham" (Gal 3:8). The Bible is One Book designed by God to proclaim One Message the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ! Obviously, such epoch-spanning semantic art could come only from Him who dwells in Eternity.

The first two symbols Baptism and the Flood are directly connected with water, whereas the third the Dove is connected via its relation to the Holy Spirit. This association appears throughout Scripture from the first chapter of Genesis where the "Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters" to the last chapter of Revelation where the Spirit and the Bride say "let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." This is the water of the Spirit that God promised saying, "I will pour water (mayim) upon him that is thirsty ... I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed" (Isa 44:3). Christ fulfilled this promise, 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 7:38). The Evangelist then explained that the water represented "the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive." As an aside, this verse attests to the Divinity of Christ since He called everyone to come to Him to drink the living water, and Scripture identifies the "fountain of living waters" with God Himself (Jer 17:13, see below).

The strong Biblical connection between water and life is familiar to every living creature since all life depends upon this element. Every day, we drink it, prepare our food with it, and cleanse ourselves with it. It is, therefore, a universal symbol of the source of life, refreshment, cleansing, restoration, and renewal. Thus God promises to lead us beside still waters and to restore our souls (Ps 23:2f). He tells us that anyone who delights in His Word and continuously meditates in it "shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (Ps 1:3), and calls us to joyfully "draw water (mayim) out of the wells (maqor) of salvation" (Isa 12:3). He united all this the ultimate symbol of the source of life that flows from Him when He identified Himself as "the fountain of living waters":

O LORD, the hope (miqveh) of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters (maqor mayim chayim).

Jerermiah 17:13

Fountain of Life (Hebrew) This verse uses three Mem KeyWords, including miqveh (hope) which is based on the Quph KeyWord qavah (to wait, BW book pg 330) prefixed with a Mem to form the substantive noun. The root verb also means to gather together and as such gives rise to another meaning of miqveh as a gathering of water. This is the name of the Jewish ritual bath which shares many symbolic overtones with Christian Baptism (cleansing, conversion, renewal). Both of these words first appear on the Third Day of Creation in conjunction with mayim:

And God said, Let the waters (mayim) under the heaven be gathered together (qavah) unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together (miqveh) of the waters (mayim) called he Seas (Yamim): and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:9f

Note the close relation between the words yamim (seas) and mayim (water).

Historically, Biblical scholars have seen a profound typological connection with the events of the Third Day, the Flood, Baptism, and the Character and Work of the Third Person of the Holy Trinity (Spoke 3, BW book pg 166). Just as God gathered the waters on the Third Day, so the Holy Spirit gathers the people of God into one place in Christ. The Final Book explicitly confirms the validity of this typology:

And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

Revelation 17:15

The "whore" is a familiar symbol of false religion and faithless people which was seen in our study of Spoke 6 (BW book pg 202). It contrasts with the Bride as the symbol of all believers who have been gathered into one Body in Christ (Spoke 3, BW book pg 166). The Septuagint amplifies this association by using the Greek word synagogue to describe the "one place" where the waters were gathered. Thus "the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water (mayim) of life freely" (Rev 22:17).

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