The Waters Below


From James B. Jordan’s Trees and Thorns: [1]

The water in the ground of the garden is associated with Eve.

What Adam was to guard was the Garden, and preeminently Eve, its mistress. This is precisely what he refused to do. Later in the Bible, new Adams meet their Eves at wells, and defend them there. Eliezar met Rebekah at a well, and brought her home to Isaac (Gen. 24:11ff.). Jacob met Rachel at a well, and unsealed it for her — a sign as it turned out of his coming marriage to her (Gen. 29:10-11). Good Shepherd Moses met Zipporah at a well and defended her against bad shepherds (Ex. 2:16-19).

All of these women were outsiders, who were married by representatives of the Messianic line (compare also Joseph, Samson, Solomon, etc). The spring in Eden flowed out to other lands; the messiahs of the Old Testament married foreign women. In fulfillment, Jesus spoke to an outsider Samaritan woman at a well, asked her about her husband(s), and in so doing offered Himself as True Husband to her and her people (John 4:1-22). He associated the water He offered with the Spirit whom He would give (John 4:10, 23-24; 7:37-39).

I discussed this marital imagery briefly in connection with the Laver of Cleansing in Chariots of Water: An Exploration of the Water-Stands of Solomon’s Temple (available from Here let me add that meeting earthly wives at wells (ground water) is part of the first creation. In heaven there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage, for all are married to the Divine Husband. Thus, the well at which Jesus meets us is heavenly water, the Spirit. As the spring watered the Garden and grew the fruitful trees, so the marriage of woman and man is to be fruitful on earth, and the marriage of Jesus and God’s Daughter (humanity) is to be fruitful unto eternity.

Lastly, the care with which a gardener directs water to cause plants to flourish should be seen as instructive of how a husband should care for his wife and family. One does not grasp or force water, and neither can a man grasp or force his wife.

[1] James B. Jordan, Trees and Thorns: A Commentary on Genesis 2-4. Available from
Art: Eden, 1930 Lithograph by Abel Pann.

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