A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
Read Chapter 4
Ambrose of Milan
We find the well in the mystical sense in the Canticle of Canticles, where the Scripture says, “the fountain of gardens, the well of living water which runs with a strong stream from Lebanon.” Indeed if you pursue the depth of the mysteries, the well appears to you to be mystical wisdom set in the deep, as it were. But if you wish to drink the abundance of love, which is greater and richer than faith and hope, then you have your fountain. For love abounds, so that you can drink it in close at hand and water your garden with its abundance, so that the latter overflows with spiritual fruits. - "Isaac, or the Soul 4.26"
fountain..living water: It is the Saviour Himself, (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) or the gifts of the Holy Spirit which quench thirst here, and in the future, concerning what Christ said in John 4:14 'the water which I give..' (Robert of Tombelaine)
If the garden enclosed is the spouse of Christ, which is the church, a thing enclosed cannot lie open to outsiders and profane people. And if the fountain is sealed, there is no access to the fountain to anyone placed outside either to drink or to be sealed therewith. The well of living water, also, if it is one, is the same which is within; one who is situated outside cannot be vivified and sanctified by that water of which it is granted only to those who are within to have all use and drink. - "Letter 69.2"
Virtues are signified by the perfumes and the trees of Lebanon are the prophets. Myrrh and aloes, finally, demonstrate that the buried Christ communed with the saints who preceded him, for, descending to hades, he led them out. - "Fragments in the Commentary on the Song of Songs 4.15"
Now who is the “fountain sealed,” or who is signified by the “wellspring of living water”? It is the Savior himself, of whom it is written: “For with you is the fountain of life.” - "Catechetical Lectures 14.5"
The place of his burial was a garden.… What is he going to say who was buried in the garden? “I gather my myrrh, and my spices”; and again, “Myrrh and aloes with all the finest spices.” These were the tokens of his burial, and in the Gospels it is said, “The women came to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared,” and “there also came Nicodemus, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes.” - "Catechetical Lectures 14.11"
In order that we may know the plants that the Word cultivates in believers, the Song calls the trees he planted “pomegranates.” These issue from the bride’s mouth. The pomegranate is difficult for a thief to grasp because of its thorny branches, and its fruit is surrounded and protected by a rind bitter and harsh to the taste. Once the pomegranate ripens in its own good time, and once the rind is peeled off and the inside revealed, it is sweet and appealing to the sight much like honey to the taste; its juice tastes like wine and affords much pleasure to the palate. I think that the issues from the bride’s mouth [are] a “garden of pomegranates” present in the souls of those listening to her. We must heed her words and not become soft by indulgence and enjoyment of this present life. Rather we should choose a life that has become toughened by continence. Thus virtue’s fruit is inaccessible to thieves and is protected by the bitter covering of self-control. Surrounded by a solemn, auster...
When the Word raises his bride to such a point through her ascents, he leads her even further, saying that her garments have the scent of frankincense. Scripture testifies that Christ is clothed with this frankincense. The end of a virtuous life is participation in God, for frankincense manifests the divinity. The soul is not always led by the Word to what is higher by means of honey and milk, but after having been compared with the scent of frankincense, the garden becomes an image of paradise. It is not loosely guarded as with our first parents, but protected from every side by recollection of the bridegroom’s command. - "Homilies on the Song of Songs 9"