Both the words fountain and font originate from the Latin word ‘fons’ or ‘fontis’ which means source. With this in mind we can better understand the symbolism of the baptismal font when we consider the Garden of Eden as the prototype for temples. And in the case of the The Hague Temple, the fountain and pond outside resemble an extension of the font or source within.
In Genesis we read: “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads” (Genesis 2:10).
Symbol of the living water
This holy water which, after God’s creation, moistened the garden and therefore the tree of life also, reminds us of Christ at another well. Jesus told the Samaritan woman: ”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” (John 4:14). This living water is given, in its purest form, in His holy house. Also, the baptismal water, which, like a well, is located in the basement of the temple, creates new life after a sinful past for all the dead who are baptized there by proxy (Obadiah 1:21, 1 Corinthians 15:29) and have accepted the gospel message in the spirit world (1 Peter 4:6).
In the Old Testament the prophet Ezekiel saw the temple once to be built on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. In vision Ezekiel was brought to the eastern entrance and ”and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east” (47:1). The water stream then flowed eastward through the wilderness of Judea, and finally ended in the Dead Sea that was made healthy again. In verse 9 of that chapter we read: ” And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.”
Symbol of the love of God
In the words of S. Michael Wilcox: “Temples in the last days are the source of a powerful, very refreshing river. It is a river of peace, revelation, truth, light and priesthood power. But above all it is a river of love. Careful examination of Lehi’s dream reveals half symbol like the fruit of the tree of life represents the love of God. Nephi saw that “the rod of iron … introduced to the source of living waters, … which waters are a symbol of the love of God” (1 Nephi 11:25). This source of love flows from the doors of the temples “(House of Glory, p. 41).
Symbol of a compass
Also related to the river in Genesis the geographical positioning of the temple is once again confirmed. The division of the river in ”four heads” (Genesis 2:10) is in fact a direct reference to the four cardinal points. In the words of Dr. Hugh W. Nibley of Brigham Young University: “The temple is a point of reference, a place where you take your bearings in the universe.” The grouping of the twelve oxen under the baptismal font within the temple emphasizes this image of a compass. Rightfully so, every temple visit requires us to reflect if we are still on the “straight and narrow path” that we at baptism promised to follow and “which leads to eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:17-18).
Symbol of righteousness and truth
When the Lord told Enoch about his second coming in the last days at the time of great wickedness, He also spoke about the restoration of the gospel. “And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem” (Moses 7:62). Hugh Nibley called the temple “the bridgehead to Zion” (Temple and Cosmos, p. 34). There is no better place in Zion to learn about righteousness and truth and to prepare for the Second Coming than in His ‘tabernacle’ or the temple.
Symbol of discipleship
When Mormon spoke to the members of the Church, those “that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which [they] can enter into the rest of the Lord” (Moroni 7:3), he used the example of a good source as a metaphor for true discipleship. “For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil” (Moroni 7:11). Thus, the water at the temple can also be seen as the the good fruits that Christ’s true followers produce.