1 Nephi 8:10, 13. Tree of Life
Parts of 1 Nephi 8:10, 13 were borrowed from Revelation 22:1-2, which, being in the New Testament, was unavailable to the Nephites, who left Jerusalem six centuries before Christ’s birth. Revelation 2:7 is the source of the words “the tree of life” in 1 Nephi 11:25.
Since the topic is the tree of life in both cases, we should not be surprised to find that both passages describe it as near a river and bearing fruit. Indeed, the Book of Mormon would be more suspect if its description of the tree differed from that of the Bible. “The tree of life,” first appears in Genesis (2:9; 3:22, 24) and is also found in other Old Testament passages (Proverbs 3:18; 11:30; 13:12; 15:4).
As for the expression “river of water,” which some critics seem to think is found only in these two passages, compare Psalm 65:9, “the river of God, which is full of water.” The concept of the “fountain of living waters,” in the same Book of Mormon passage and found in a variant form (“living fountains of waters”) in Revelation 7:17, is from the Old Testament. Zechariah (14:8) wrote of the “living waters” (cf. Ezekiel 47:1-12), and Jeremiah (2:13; 17:13) wrote of “the fountain of living waters,” which is identical to the 1 Nephi wording rather than to the wording of Revelation 7. In the Song of Songs/Solomon (4:15), we read of “a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters.” Jesus referred to himself as the source of “living waters” (John 4:10). The idea of the living waters being near the tree of life is, of course, paralleled in the story of the garden of Eden, where we have not only the tree, but also the river (Genesis 2:9-10). “Living waters” is a Hebrew idiom meaning “running water,” as opposed to stagnant.