|Ephrem the Syrian|
For Ephrem, then, symbols are polyvalent and multifaceted; one meaning does not exhaust their potential, and one meaning does not exclude another meaning. The pearl symbolizes the kingdom of heaven, but the image of the pearl also serves as a door that opens and reveals many facets of the “Truth” and symbolizes not only the kingdom but also Christ, faith, the virgin birth, his crucifixion, and many other things. As the first stanza indicates, the symbol of the pearl serves as an invitation to—and as the starting point for—meditation (Brock 1992: 56). As Ephrem writes, the pearl “became a fountain, and I drank out of it mysteries of the Son” (1.1).