"Wells of salvation."

J. K.

Christian Friend, vol. 13, 1886, p. 253.

The well-known scripture from which the heading is taken - Isaiah 12 - is evidently prophetic, and finds special application to Israel in millennial days. This is easily seen in tracing its connection with the foregoing chapter, by means of the formula, "In that day," which occurs twice in each chapter. The formula points to the restoration of God's earthly people to their own land, and to the state of things coincident with Messiah's reign, as described in Isaiah 11. Then, in the words of Psalm 85, the Lord will have brought back the captivity of Jacob, forgiven all the iniquity of His people, and covered all their sin; glory will dwell in their land; mercy and truth will have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other; truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven; and the overflowing hearts of His adoring people will find suitable expression in the words of Isaiah 12.

Salvation known and enjoyed is the prominent theme of the chapter - the keynote of the song; and God Himself is that salvation. With the heart salvation is sought, appropriated, and learned; and for satisfaction therein, a person, not a thing, must be the object. The salvation here spoken of is obviously cast in a Jewish mould; it is that of Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, who is in the midst of the inhabitants of Zion, etc. They will with joy draw water out of the wells of salvation, and utter the shout of triumph - blessed exercises of long-looked-for rest. We may see a foreshadowing of all this in the refreshment afforded by Elim's twelve wells, and threescore and ten palm trees.

Fruits of grace which await, in such abundance, Israel in a future day are, though in higher measure, and in a more blessed way, offered to faith now. "Things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" are revealed and ministered to us by His Spirit for our comfort and sustenance; whereas Isaiah could only speak of these things as, in fact, hidden. (Isaiah 64:4. Compare 1 Cor. 2:9, 10.) It is plain therefore that drawing "water out of the wells of salvation" may be with us a present joyous exercise.

We notice the word, "Therefore with joy shall ye draw," which presupposes a certain condition of soul. This condition may be inferred from the first two verses of our chapter. Thus: (1) God is the soul's object; (2) His wrath is turned away; (3) He acts as comforter, and as a shield. (4) He is the soul's strength and its song; (5) and is become its salvation.

It is indeed lamentable when saints derive neither pleasure nor profit from the word of God, which lays open to us the wells of salvation. When we lack joy in drawing water therefrom something evidently is astray, and it behoves one to consider. (Psalm 45:10.) Waiting upon God is the secret of strength; and the same, in a self-judged spirit, is the secret for discovering the cause of weakness. Generally the cause is not far to seek. But, without dwelling further upon what is certainly of much importance, the case is infinitely worse when the soul is altogether unacquainted with the condition, above described. Naturally, man has no heart for God. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." He stood amongst us, as John the Baptist declared, but we knew Him not. He would even sit with us, and, finding us pre-occupied, would become our debtor, that He might have opportunity to assure us of the unsatisfying character of natural resources. Yes, though these should even be the very mould in which man's life is cast, the elements by which, so far as he sees it, life is estimated, sustained, and characterized. And, together with assuring us of this, He would reveal to us the true source of lasting satisfaction - the unfathomable love of a giving God. "He that drinketh of this water shall thirst again" is aptly expressive of the former, whatever the resource may be. "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst" as aptly indicates the latter, and the manner in which the source of blessing becomes available to the thirsty. Well it is when the soul is led to the simple and wholesome enquiry, "Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well?" Yes, this blessed One - the author and giver of all we possess - is superior alike to the possessions which charm and pre-occupy us, and to the channel through whom they may have become ours. He can show Himself to be so. But to do this we must be laid bare, that we may see ourselves as He sees us, and recognize our need. He puts forth His hand in love, and touches the tender point of our consciences, which then yield to Him, and we apprehend Him as One capable of telling us "all things that ever we did." He speaks to us of the Father seeking worshippers, of worship too, but according to the exigencies of God's nature. This the contrite can yield Him, and only they. But now the void is formed, which only Christ can fill, and He fills the void. "I that speak unto thee am He." Satisfaction is tasted; the well is filled, and overflows,* sending forth a stream of living water (John 7:38) in communion with the divine source. The valley of Baca is made a well; the rain also filleth the pools. The heavenly fount itself sends forth showers of blessing, graciously supplementing the channels, as well as causing them to flow. (John 4:39-42.)

*This is the truth in essence and outline. John does not develop what is dispensational, though referring to it. (John 7:39.)

Thus the Father known in the Son; the Son known as One whose meat and drink was, and is, to do the Father's will; and we introduced, in the power of the Holy Ghost given (John 7:39), into that wondrous sphere, constitute the essence of Christian blessedness. "Our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." Is it any wonder our joy should be full? (1 John 1:3, 4.)

But with this there is also the opening up of God's counsels and ways, the patient gracious unfolding of them, for our intelligent establishment and enlargement in that wonderful fellowship. There is "in us a well of water," yielding blessed satisfaction, which is the subjective side of things. But, objectively, there are other "wells of salvation" out of which "with joy" we may draw water. Thus we have justification made good to us "freely by God's grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus," and treated of at length in Romans. When utterly ruined by nature and by practice, "He was delivered for our offences;" and "our old man was crucified with Him." "Raised again for our justification," our guilt is cancelled, and "we have peace with God." We are moreover ranged under Him as our Head, and also are in Him, where "there is no condemnation;" and from whose love there is no separation. "God for us" the whole way onward from justification to glorification, so that we rejoice* in hope of His glory; glory* even in tribulation, and joy* in Himself, the source of all the blessing.

*Rejoice, glory, and joy - the same word in the original.

Then we have, again, access to God, as set forth in Hebrews, with all the essential preliminaries and accompaniments. The blood presented on and before the mercy-seat; the way into the holiest opened through the rent veil; the conscience purged, so that we may act on the precious invitation to enter with boldness; our High Priest there "for us," to encourage, comfort, and sustain; He bears our names upon the breastplate and on His shoulders. Our interests are His care.

Thirdly, we have eternal life in the Son of God; involving new birth and relationship, as set forth by John, especially in his first epistle. Well may we exclaim with him: "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God!"

Acceptance in Christ - the Beloved, involving union with Him, as shown in Ephesians. Members of His body; objects thus of the Father's complacent love, and of the Son's "delight," ascending to the eternal counsels. His destined bride withal.

"Of Him, for Him" made, to share "with Him" the eternal glory, the paradise of God on high; then to be feasted by Him - yea, on Him; and "to be found in Him," and He in us, for ever!

Again, our citizenship is in heaven, as we learn in Eph. 2 and Phil. 3:20.

Then there is "that blessed hope" for which we look, the Lord's promised coming, bound up as it is with all our joys and sorrows, patience and longings, testimony and service for Him, yea, with our very being as Christians, while He leaves us here.

And lastly, what we may truly look upon as the just counterpart to all the above, viz., His own place in rejection and reproach on earth. We cannot forget that here is found a system, ordered by Satan, and opposed to God. As prince of the world he governs its politics; as god of the world, its religions; and in more subtle guise he governs the social world by ministering to "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." The Christian is properly outside of all this, a pilgrim and a stranger here.

Not only do our souls rejoice in the intrinsic blessedness of these various aspects of our salvation, but also in contrasting them with the condition in which our lack of them once found us. And God would have us to view matters thus, in learning to estimate His grace towards us, as we read: "Remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles . . . . aliens . . . . strangers . . . . having no hope, and without God in the world." The more distinctly we recognize all this, the higher view of His grace we shall rejoice in; and transcendently so when manifested before His judgment-seat.

Then, not only does our joy flow from the immensity of grace and love manifested; but with joy also we may consider His own part, in the working out and accomplishment of the eternal counsels of His heart in respect of us. Yea, will this not be the noblest strain in our many-themed song - the richest element, the deepest spring of our eternal blessedness? "He will rest in His love," when, and only when, He will have wrought out, to full accomplishment, the bright conceptions of His grace towards us. What a voice this has for our souls!

"We rejoice, and Thou rejoicest
In the riches of Thy grace."

J. K.