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Why Look to “the Stick of Joseph” as a Standard – Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Jacob’s Well and the Waters of Mormon

Mosiah 9:33,65-67 Now there was in Mormon a fountain of pure water… yea, the Place of Mormon, the Waters of Mormon, the Forest of Mormon—How beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer!  Yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to His praise forever!

Jacob’s prophecy about his son Joseph being a fruitful bough yields even richer meaning when we consider his reference to a well.[1]

Genesis 49:22Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall. 

Through the Book of Mormon, God has revealed the fountain of pure water in Mormon[2] as the well Jacob spoke of prophetically in his birthright blessing of his son.  This unique fountain and its relationship to Joseph were typified by Jacob’s well, located in ancient Samaria near Sychar as mentioned in the book of John.[3]

Details of the fountain of pure water in Mormon’s abridgment confirm Jacob’s blessing of Joseph.  They show how descendants of Joseph obtained, through faith, the precious land and well included in the blessing Jacob placed on his son’s head.  More importantly, these details show how a remnant of his descendants obtained salvation by faith in their Redeemer at Mormon’s fountain.[4]

With the advent of the Book of Mormon, the Lord has thus restored the knowledge of His promises to Jacob and to Joseph for the purpose of fulfilling His remaining covenant promises to them.[5]  Through the words of this unique book, the Lord God of Israel is now manifesting Himself as the Word of God to Joseph’s posterity in Joseph’s land as well as to all Israel and the world at large.

I Nephi 3:197-200For there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth; and the time cometh that He shall manifest Himself unto all nations—both unto the Jews, and also unto the Gentiles; And after that He hath manifested Himself unto the Jews, and also unto the Gentiles, then He shall manifest Himself unto the Gentiles, and also unto the Jews; And the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.

II Nephi 11:78,79And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, and that He manifesteth Himself unto all they that believe in Him by the power of the Holy Ghost, yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue and people, working mighty miracles, signs and wonders among the children of men according to their faith.

Jesus Christ’s objective in manifesting Himself through the words of Mormon’s abridgement is to draw all people to Himself.[6]  For everyone who comes to Jesus in meekness and lowliness of heart, there awaits living waters and fruit from the tree of life in His presence in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3-12Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled [with the Holy Ghost[7]].  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God…

Revelation 22:1-5And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:  And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.  And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

Jacob’s Well

In passing on his birthright to Joseph, Jacob had given his son the richest portion of his tangible possessions, which included his well.  Like other shepherds of his day, Jacob knew the value of a good well for providing water to his family and to his livestock as a necessity for life.  Thus, in giving Joseph his well, Jacob was giving his son the best opportunity he could to flourish materially.

However, during a long, devastating famine, Jacob was given an opportunity to observe how Joseph had flourished without his well.  He found that Joseph had prospered greatly at the river of Egypt, the covenant boundary of the land promised to Abraham.  In fact, Joseph had prospered better in Egypt during the famine than Jacob had in his homeland by his well—so much better in fact, that people from all over Egypt and beyond came to Joseph for food, including Jacob and his household.

At the conclusion of his life, Jacob would then speak to his son of a new land with a well.  By faith, Jacob was giving this new land and its resources to Joseph and his posterity born of his two eldest sons.  This land and well were neither in the land of Canaan nor in Egypt.  They were over the wall (the border) of Abraham’s covenant land.[8]  Drawing on words of blessing spoken by Moses, the well would be precious but distant, being found in a precious land at the ends of the earth.[9]

In Egypt, Joseph had been a faithful and wise steward over all that Pharoah placed in his care; as a result, he had flourished by the waters of Egypt—the well that allowed him to initially flourish.[10]  He had become a fruitful bough in another man’s land, and from there his branches would eventually extend far beyond the land promised to Abraham and Isaac, his fathers.  Joseph would now receive his own land and well where his posterity would receive their inheritance past the river of Egypt.

In fine, Jacob’s land with his well in Abraham’s covenant land represented (like a template) a much larger land with a well.[11]  It typified the blessings he (Jacob) received by faith above the blessings of [his] progenitors (Abraham and Isaac) to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills distant from Canaan and Egypt.[12]  Therefore, in giving his son his well by faith, Jacob also transferred the stewardship of the greater portion of land and its blessings to Joseph.

Although Joseph had flourished at the border of Abraham’s covenant land, Jacob had pointed him to yet another land with a well by which his posterity would prosper both physically and spiritually over many generations.  Years later, when Jesus visited Jacob’s well, he too pointed (through John’s writing) to another well; He pointed to the well of living waters in the kingdom of heaven.  The Book of Mormon reveals the connection between these two wells.

A Well Springing Up

John, the disciple and Apostle of Jesus Christ, noted how Jacob had given Joseph the stewardship of the parcel of land associated with his well in ancient Samaria near Sychar.[13]  He made special mention of Jacob’s well (i.e. spring or fountain[14]) when writing about the personal ministry Jesus brought to a woman of Samaria at this historic well.[15]

John 4:5-7Then cometh he [Jesus] to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Now Jacob’s well was there.  Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.  There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

With these words, John connected Jesus’ ministry directly to Joseph’s stewardship of Jacob’s well within the context of Jesus teaching the woman of Samaria about the living water of His kingdom.  Clearly, Jesus was offering this woman the same gift He gives freely to whosoever receives Him as the Messiah—the One anointed by God to bless all mankind according to His covenant with Abraham.[16]

John 4:9-15 – …If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.  The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?  Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?  Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.  The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

Jesus went on to explain to her that all true worshippers would soon be worshipping our heavenly Father in Spirit and truth.[17]

John 4:22-24Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

This form of worship wells up in everyone who receives the Holy Ghost, the source of the rivers of living water that are to flow freely in and through our lives.[18]

John 7:37-39In the last day, that great day of the feast, 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.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

According to Jesus, the traditional forms of worship observed in Jerusalem and Samaria would soon give way to a new expression of worship, one that caused this woman of Samaria to return excitedly to her city to tell everyone of the living water she had just tasted in Jesus’ presence at Jacob’s well.

John 4:25-30The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.  Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.  And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?  The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?  Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

She had believed and confessed Jesus’ words, and therefore, by her faith, she was healed spiritually and filled with God’s love as have so many others throughout the ages because of their faith in Him.

I John 4:15-18Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.  God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Recall also how, in preparing the way before Jesus Christ, John the Baptist preached that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire.[19]

John 1:32,33And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.  And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

Mark 1:6-8And John … preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

While many religious leaders of the day held tight to their traditional forms of worship, the common people who believed John came to him confessing their sins[20] in anticipation of being filled with God’s Spirit according to the words of the prophets.

Isaiah 44:1-4Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:  Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.  For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.

Ezekiel 36:26-30A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.  And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.  I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.  And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.

Joel 2:27-29And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.  And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

Why is being baptized with the Holy Ghost, who is the Spirit of truth, the Comforter, so important to everyone?  Paul, the disciple and Apostle of Jesus Christ, explained that we receive the love of God by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us in the baptism of Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Thus, in the baptism of Jesus Christ, we are, in effect, partaking of the tree of life and of the living waters whereby we may be filled with the love of God for eternity.

I Nephi 3:63-71Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?it is the love of God which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things. … And I looked and I beheld the Son of God a going forth among the children of men; And I saw many fall down at His feet and worship Him.  And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron which my father had seen was the word of God which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life, which waters are a representation of the love of God; And I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.  And the angel said unto me again: Look and behold the Condescension of God.  And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world of which my father had spoken.

The Work of the Father Has Already Commenced

The beautiful connection between the fountain of pure water in the land of Mormon and Jacob’s well helps us comprehend and appreciate more fully the physical and spiritual inheritance Joseph’s posterity received in the land blessed for them by Jacob and Moses.  In truth, Mormon’s record is a remarkable sign[21] sent by God to signal that He is already drawing His covenant people of the house of Israel to the fountain of living waters prepared for them in the kingdom of heaven.[22]

III Nephi 9:93-95And when these things come to pass—that thy seed shall begin to know these things—It shall be a sign unto them that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which He hath made unto the people which are of the house of Israel.  And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths, for that which had not been told them, shall they see, and that which they had not heard, shall they consider; For in that day, for My sake [Jesus Christ’s sake] shall the Father work a work which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; And there shall be among them which will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.

In practical terms, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon marks the beginning of the restoration of Joseph’s posterity to Joseph’s land as part of restoration of the whole house of Israel to the lands of their inheritance.[23]  It serves to show Jacob’s household how they will be recovered unto the Lord by Him setting His hand the second time to gather them back to their covenant lands.[24]  This marvelous work is being accomplished according their ancestors’ faith in His words.[25]

A remnant of Joseph’s son Manasseh is now being brought to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of His doctrine so they may know how to come unto Him and partake of the waters of life freely.[26]  The knowledge given to them in the records of their ancestors is growing into all the earth, filling all nations with the knowledge of the Lord God of Israel and of His kingdom.[27]

Through the Lord’s marvelous work of restoration in these latter days, the Book of Mormon will be ever-increasingly precious in the sight of all who drink of the waters of grace it contains.  It now serves as a fountain of living waters around which a remnant of Joseph will rally the rest of the house of Israel as they grow in the knowledge of their Redeemer like the faithful remnants before them.[28]

Ether 1:109-114Come unto Me, O ye Gentiles! And I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.  Come unto Me, O ye house of Israel! And it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you from the foundation of the world; And it hath not come unto you because of unbelief.  Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness and hardness of heart and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in My name with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which He made unto your fathers, O house of Israel—And then shall My revelations which I have caused to be written by My servant John be unfolded in the eyes of all the people—Remember, when ye see these things, ye shall know that the time is at hand that they shall be made manifest in very deed; Therefore, when ye shall receive this record, ye may know that the work of the Father has commenced upon all the face of the earth.

Note how those who were not naturally born into Abraham’s covenant (i.e. the Gentiles) are also called to partake of the living waters the Lord is offering in Mormon’s abridgement, even the same thirst-quenching waters Jesus gave freely to the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well.[29]

III Nephi 10:1-4… if they [the Gentiles] will repent, and hearken unto My words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish My church among them; and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this, the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance, and they shall assist My people, the remnant of Jacob—and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come—that they may build a city which shall be called the New Jerusalem; and then shall they assist My people that they may be gathered in, which are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem; and then shall the powers of heaven come down among them, and I also will be in the midst; And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people.

Today, the Book of Mormon provides us with the waters of Mormon through the Spirit of Jesus Christ.[30]  He has caused the fullness of His gospel to be placed within this record.[31] That is, as the living and abiding Word of God, Jesus is manifesting Himself through the words of the sacred record of Joseph’s remnant.[32]  Therefore, each of us may freely receive of God’s redemptive love by partaking of the waters of life that flow from His words in Mormon’s abridgement.[33]

Jacob 2:50O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God and feast upon His love, for ye may if your minds are firm forever.

Come then and meet Jesus Christ at the fountain of pure water in Mormon.  Come to Him and receive His pleasing words that He has caused to come forth in these latter days by way of Mormon’s abridgment of the sacred records of his people.  Through the words Jesus has caused to be recorded in this plain and precious book, He is seeking to draw all people to the well of living waters He gives freely in the kingdom of heaven.  Even now, Jesus Christ Our Redeemer is pointing all of us to the fountain of living waters given to everyone who loves and worships God in spirit and truth.[34]

Omni 1:46,47And now my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, which is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of His salvation and the power of His redemption; Yea, come unto Him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto Him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; And as the Lord liveth, ye will be saved.

In the next chapter, we will consider why Israel’s son Joseph was given the stewardship of the land of the New Jerusalem.  True sons of Joseph, those who are heirs of this birthright, will build a holy city unto the Lord, a city which will bless all the nations and families of the earth according to God’s covenant promise to Abraham.  It will be the city of the pure in heart, our Lord’s Zion on earth.

[1] cf. Isaiah 5:1-7, Romans 11:13-36, & Jacob 3:30-153 with I Nephi 3:16-21, I Nephi 4:14-25, & Jacob 2:34,35

[2] This fountain was associated with the waters of Mormon in the place of Mormon; cf. Mosiah 9:28-67 with I Nephi 1:36.  I was assured of this understanding by faith in early June 2022.  A week or so after I wrote of this conviction, I watched a video by Patrick McKay ( that served to further confirm this understanding for me.

[3] Genesis 49:22-26 & Deuteronomy 33:13-16 with John 4:5-7 & Mosiah 9:28-67

[4] Mosiah 9:33-67, Mosiah 11:121-141 & Alma 3:3-5 with III Nephi 2:96,97 & Mormon 1:6; cf. II Peter 1:1 with II Timothy 2:10 & Ether 5:17

[5] Book of Mormon Title Page & Ether 1:35 with I Nephi 3:184-201, I Nephi 4:28,29, II Nephi 2:4-24 & III Nephi 7:27-31

[6] John 12:31-33 & III Nephi 12:25-35 with Revelation 22:1-5

[7] Matthew 5:8 IV with Luke 5:32

[8] Genesis 49:22-26 with Deuteronomy 33:13-17

[9] Deuteronomy 33:13-17 with Genesis 49:22-26

[10] Genesis 41:38-46 & Genesis 45:4-18 with Genesis 37:3-11

[11] Deuteronomy 33:13-17 with Genesis 49:26

[12] Genesis 49:26 & Deuteronomy 33:13-16

[13] John 4:5-7.  Also, topics covered in earlier chapters, with respect to the relationship between Mormon’s name, his abridgment, and the place of Mormon and the covenant that was made there, are integral to the present discussion.  See Mormon 1:1 with III Nephi 2:96 and Mosiah 9:38 with Alma 3:3,4.

[14] from

[15] Jesus’ ministry to this woman is significant because Jesus said He was sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:22-28 with John 4:5-27).  Some writers suggest Jesus’ ministry to this woman signified much more, viz a betrothal type scene as noted on the following website:  As this study shows, it does have a covenant meaning in that it reflects the Lord’s preparation to keep His covenant promises to the whole house of Israel, not just the southern kingdom.  See Ezekiel 37:11-14,21,22 & Hebrews 8:7-13 (Jeremiah 31:31-34) with Jeremiah 31:9-11. cf. John 1:31 with Matthew 10:5,6; cf. John 4:5-14 with Joshua 24:32; Consider this topic in light of Genesis 49:26 with Deuteronomy 33:13-16

[16] cf. Matthew 5:6 & III Nephi 5:53 with John 1:11-17, John 3:14-21, John 4:5-14, John 4:39-42, John 7:38-40, John 14:15-26, John 15:3-8, etc.; cf. Deuteronomy 8:3 with John 6:32-63 & Matthew 6:12; cf. I John 1:1-3 with I John 3:14-16, I John 4:9, Ephesians 3:17 & II Corinthians 5:17-18; cf. I Nephi 4:28,29 with Galatians 3:16; cf. Matthew 17:5 with Luke 3:21,22

[17] Matthew 6:9-16 with John 20:17

[18] John 4:24-26 IV with Matthew 5:8 IV; cf. Philippians 3:3 with Acts 5:32

[19] Matthew 3:5-11, Mark 1:5 & Luke 3:16 with Jeremiah 31:31-34 (Hebrews 8:7-13), Jeremiah 32:37-41, Ezekiel 37:14, etc.

[20] Matthew 3:5,6 with Mark 1:5

[21] III Nephi 9:86-95

[22] Moroni 10:29,30 with Mosiah 11:129,130

[23] cf. III Nephi 13:54 with Ether 1:110-114 & with Ether 6:1-13

[24] Isaiah 11:11-13 & II Nephi 5:36-38 with I Nephi 7:23 & II Nephi 5:29

[25] cf. II Nephi 11:81-85, III Nephi 2:98-109, Mormon 4:102,103, Enos 1:28 & D&C 3:10c-13a with Mormon 4:26-56 & II Nephi 11:79,145

[26] cf. D&C 2:6a-6e & D&C 49:5a with I Nephi 4:16-19 & III Nephi 7:27-45

[27] II Nephi 12:95-99 with III Nephi 9:93-95; cf. John 1:11-17 (John 1:11-18 IV) with Daniel 2:44,45

[28] I Nephi 3:184-205 with I Nephi 3:68-71, Mosiah 9:65-67, Mosiah 11:121-132 & III Nephi 2:96,97

[29] John 4:15,16 with I Nephi 3:68-76

[30] John 6:63 with D&C 83:7a-e & D&C 90:1a-2d

[31] D&C 26:2a with I Nephi 3:19, I Nephi 3:183-189 & I Nephi 4:15-19

[32] cf. BofM Title Page 1:7 & I Nephi 3:195-201 with I Nephi 3:63-79, I Nephi 3:183-189 & II Nephi 11:28-40; see Jeremiah 2:13 & Jeremiah 17:13; see D&C 39:1-2 with D&C 26:2a

[33] II Nephi 14:1-6

[34] I Peter 1:3-12 with Matthew 13:24-52