6977. 'And it will be water which you have taken' means an inversion of state. This is clear from the words that come immediately after these, for it says that the water will become blood on the dry land, meaning the falsification of all truth and the deprivation of it in the natural. When this happens a complete inversion of state takes place. Thus it is that because those words imply an inversion of state they are also said to mean such an inversion. A total inversion of state has also taken place in the natural when nothing but falsities are in possession of it. This rarely happens with a person while he is living in the world; but in the next life it is what happens with all who are cast into hell. The reason why it rarely happens with a person while he is living in the world is that during that time he is preserved constantly in a condition that enables him to be reformed, provided that in freedom he refrains from behaving in evil ways. But after death the life he has led follows him, and he remains in the condition he has acquired through the whole course of his life in the world. Then one who is immersed in evil is no longer able to be reformed; and for fear that he should come into contact with any community in heaven, everything true or good is taken away from him. As a result he remains immersed in evil and falsity, and these - the evil and falsity - increase in him according to the ability he has acquired in the world to receive them. Even so, he is not allowed to go beyond his acquired limits. This is what an inversion of state is used to mean here. The nature of it is such that a person can no longer undergo inward, only outward correction, that is to say, through fear on account of punishments. And when he has suffered these often, he finally refrains from evil, not in freedom but through compulsion, though the desire to do evil remains. This desire is held in check by means of fears which, as has been stated, are outward means of correction and provide compulsion. This is the condition of the evil in the next life.