“With Thee is the Fountain of Life”
It has been said, “When the woman of the fourth chapter of John came to Jesus, she came to the well: and when she came to the well she came to Jesus.” The Living one and “the Fountain” (N.Tr.) are together.
The Lord spake to her of the living water which He gives; of that which slakes the soul’s thirst so perfectly, that whosoever drinks thereof “shall never thirst for ever.” But not only does this living water satisfy: it becomes within the one who drinks “a fountain of living water, springing up into eternal life.” Eternal realities and relationships are so realized that the once thirsty sinner becomes a true worshipper of the Father in spirit and in truth. Christ the Living One is the giver of this living water.
Life Through Death
The Lord had previously spoken of His death as being a necessity first “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:14-15). Here it is not His death for our sins, but rather that life might be ours, instead of death through the serpent’s bite. “If a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived” (Num. 21:9).
From this point, we are told in the next verse, “Israel set forward.” This is so with ourselves likewise. It is in the energy of life we “set forward.” In verse 17 we also find them singing at “Beer” (the well). Then Israel sang this song, “Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it: the princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves.” The first time Israel sang was when the Red Sea was passed.
This is the second singing, and follows the lifting up of the brazen serpent. The earliest singing we read of was connected with Creation (Job 38:7). The next with Redemption (Ex. 15:1). And the third with Life (Num. 21:17).
We must notice, that though Beer was “the well whereof the Lord spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water”; yet “they digged.” We see the energy of life in this. And afterwards Sihon king of the Amorites and Og king of Bashan fall before them. They go from victory to victory. Balaam too, the spiritualist, the clairvoyant, fails to curse them—for God had said, “They are blessed.”
We have learned, it may be, the Red Sea aspect of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, which sets forth His redemption-power. It caused our hearts to rejoice and sing of His triumph as the risen Saviour. We know that He was delivered for our offences, and that He was raised again for our justification. We know that He has overthrown the power of Satan and delivered us from his authority. But what of the brazen serpent aspect of Christ’s death?
The serpent’s bite had sent the poison of death into the very springs of our being. The question therefore of our fallen state had to be met, as well as that of our sins. Truly, the one death of our blessed Lord did both, but we have to learn the application of that death in each of these ways. The first secures forgiveness and justification for us: the second life eternal life. I He was lifted up “that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have ETERNAL LIFE.”
Someone says: “I know that my Saviour died for me, and I am going to heaven when I die!” Thank God! That is a very blessed thing to know.
But many say that, and yet settle down, and are apparently little different from the respectable, unregenerate religionist who knows nothing of being saved by grace. Let us seriously ask ourselves: Are we marked by spiritual energy—by life? Have we set forward? Have we sung Israel’s second song? Someone perhaps answers thus: “I once had an experience of that sort, but something seems to have come in, and I am different now.”
Wells of Living Water
Let us see if we can discover the reason. For God has not saved us in His rich grace to leave us like lifeless professors of religion. Nay, He giveth more grace that we may “lay hold of what is really life.”
We will go back to an earlier type, to Isaac, the resurrection man. His father, Abraham, had opened out wells of water in his day (Gen. 21). These wells, which were figurative of the water of life, were, however, filled up by the Philistines (chap. 26). Satanic principles are prefigured by the activity of these Philistines. They are at work today, now, in heavenly places (Eph. 6:12). They seek to hinder our progress, and stay the living energies which should mark us. Here lies the secret of much seeming deadness. This explains the apparent lifelessness of many real believers. Someone at Ephesus had gone to sleep! His eyes were closed to the bright shining of Christ! He was not dead, but he was lying down amongst the dead of the world! What a state for a real saint of God to get into! The Apostle cries to such an one, “Wake up, thou that sleepest, and arise up from among the dead, and the Christ shall shine upon thee” (Eph. 5:14).
In the armour of light, strong in the Lord, the feeblest saint can triumph over that of which these Philistines speak. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Now Isaac is a type of Christ in one sense. But it is important to see that he is also a pattern of ourselves as having the life of Christ risen. It is distinctly said, We brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise … children of the free” (Gal. 4:28-31). Now Isaac progressed in spite of the enemies; and to prosper we must so take account of ourselves in this matter. His purposefulness and energy are all the more seen because of their opposition. He “set forward” to uncover the wells.
The first well unstopped was called “Esek,” that is “contention”; for there was strife (Gen. 26:20). We are to contend earnestly. The second well was called “Sitnah,” that is “hatred,” because they strove for that also. It is clear that at this point there is no thought of leisure. There is conflict. Truly, we are on the winning side; but still, healthful activity is manifested. We are brought to hate that which is opposed to the truth, that which was righteously judged at the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The third well was “Rehoboth,” that is “room.” He now saw that liberty and prosperity were before him. It is the liberty and blessing which are ours in Christ risen. Here we find real leisure and restfulness amid scenes of abundance. The fourth well was called “Beersheba,” the “well of the oath,” for it speaks of the purpose of God in Christ; of that which was in His heart of love for us before the foundation of the world, for His own praise and pleasure.
There is definite order indicated in these wells. The order, I doubt not, according to which the Spirit of Truth leads the soul now, at this time.
Isaac did not give these living wells new names. He simply “called their names after the names by which his father had called them” (Gen. 26:18). This is very significant and instructive. God has given us a perfect and full revelation; but on all sides there is a cry for something “new.” Let us abide by what has already been revealed. It cannot be advanced upon. Let us not heed the vain boastings about “new light,” it conceptions,” “advanced thought,” etc. “If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us, even ETERNAL LIFE” (1 John 2:24-25). Why should we not enjoy these living realities in the power and energy of the Holy Spirit now? But mark well, this living fountain is the especial object of “the Philistines’” attack. “He is the Antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.” Nevertheless, thank God, greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world; John writes, “THAT YOUR JOY MAY BE FULL.”
The Well of the Living One
We will refer finally to Isaac as a type of Christ, the Living One, with whom is the fountain of life. After he had been offered up in figure upon the altar, and had been raised again, as we read in Genesis 22, He received His bride to Himself, as is narrated in Genesis 24. Between these two occurrences Isaac’s mother Sarah, a type of Israel, had passed away, and was buried (Gen. 23). Here we have our Lord Jesus Christ foreshadowed in a most beautiful manner. When Rebekah is being brought to Him by the servant, who is a type of the Spirit, we read: “Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi” (24:62); that is, being interpreted, “The well of the Living One.” Afterwards we are told that they “dwelt by the well of the Living One” (25:11). As we see Christ typified in these interesting verses, how suitable the precious words at the head of this paper are recognized to be: “With Thee is the fountain of life.”
The world dwells by the lethal waters of sin, beside the streams of death, away from the life of God. Our dwelling-place, on the other hand, is with the Living One; beside the fountain of living plenteousness and refreshing. Life and liberty, fruitfulness and freshness, ever spring up in abundant fullness here. The blessed Lord came that we might have life, and that we might have it abundantly.
The tide of time will soon sweep past; the trials and tears of this little while be gone for ever. God Himself will wipe away every trace of these things: for the former things are passed away. “And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write for these words are true and faithful. And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the Fountain of the water of life freely.” Blessed Lord and Saviour, for ever shall it be: “WITH THEE IS THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE.”