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9. If He had been born from seed, He would not have been a new man and, being part of the old stock, and inheriting that fall, He would not have been able to receive the fullness of the incorruptible Godhead in Himself and become an inexhaustible source of hallowing. And so, not only would He not have been able to cleanse, with abundance of power, our forefathers’ defilement caused by sin, but neither would He have been sufficient to sanctify those who came later. Just as water stored in a tank would not be sufficient to provide a large city with enough to drink continuously but would require its own spring, so that it is never surrendered to the enemy on account of thirst; in the same way, neither a man nor a holy angel who, by sharing ingrace, had the ability to make things holy, would suffice to sanctify everyone at all times. But creation needed a well containing its own spring, that those who drew near it and drank their full might remain undefeated by the attacks of weaknesses and deprivations inherent in the created world. So neither an angel nor a man, but the Lord Himself came and saved us, being made a man like us for our sake, and continuing unchanged as God. Building now the new Jerusalem, raising up a temple for Himself with living stones (Eph. 2:20-21, cf 1 Pet. 2:5), and gathering us into a holy and worldwide Church, He sets in its foundation, which is Christ (cf 1 Cor. 3:11), the ever-flowing fount of grace. For the Lord’s eternal fullness of life, the all-wise and omnipotent divine nature, is made one with human nature, which was led astray through lack of counsel, enslaved to the evil one out of weakness, and laid in the deepest caverns of Hades for want of divine life, that the Lord might instill into it wisdom and power and freedom and unfailing life. — St. Gregory Palamas, Homily Fifty-Eight on the Saving Nativity According to the Flesh of Our Lord and God and Savior.

In order to really appreciate what St. Gregory is saying here, one must understand that the word “Christ” is applicable to several people in the OT. It means “anointed one.” Thus, King David is a Christ, for example, because he was anointed by Samuel (1 Sam 16:13). What makes Jesus Christ different from all of the other anointed ones throughout history is that He is God as well as man. In this way — and only in this way — can Jesus be our Savior.

St. Gregory’s imagery of a well with a spring that creation might drink of it is not unique. It is imagery that can be found in Scripture and other Fathers of the Church have picked up on this. In writing to his friend Serapion in defense of the divinity of the Holy Spirit, St. Athanasius points out that throughout Scripture, there are certain metaphors that are consistently used to describe the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These metaphors help us understand that God is in three distinct persons while remaining one God. One of these metaphors is a fountain.

The Father is called a fountain:

they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water. — Jeremiah 2:13

You have forsaken the fountain of wisdom. — Baruch 3:12

The Son is called river:

You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it. — Psalm 65:9

The Holy Spirit is called drink:

For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. — 1 Corinthians 12:13

Thus, each person of the Godhead is distinct — fountain, river, drink; however, they cannot essentially exists on their own without the others. A fountain is not a fountain without a flow of water that can be drunk. Thus the three are one.

This metaphor, then, allows us to understand that Jesus Christ is different than all other anointed ones. He is the living water that flows from the fountain that is the Father. Through Him we are able to drink of the Holy Spirit and thus participate in God Himself. Without this reality, humanity cannot be saved.