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Thursday, September 15, 2016
The Fountain – 15 September 2016, Anno Domini
1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened . . . . (Zech 13:1)
6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. (Zech 13:6)
13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters. (Jer 17:13)
In a devotion of last week, we spoke of a Golden Key which was found; and then of Chest to which the key belonged that further diligent search revealed. When we go out seeking for a treasure of great value, we must do so with our eyes open, and our hearts committed to the purpose. Careless eyes will overlook the greater treasures of life if the heart is not fixed on the prize. There are, too, Fountains of Water in Wilderness areas that many a thirsty traveler does not see – not because he needs no water, but because he does not expect it. The Lord Jesus Christ is a Fountain of Living Waters that most men are blind to see – not because they do not need a Savior, but because they do not expect to find Him at the lowest points of their lives.
There is a seemingly tragic event recorded of the bondwoman, Hagar, in the Book of Genesis. I say ‘seemingly’ because in reality it was not tragic – but a fulfillment of the will of God. Let us examine a portion of the account of Hagar who was driven from among Abraham’s tent into the wilderness:
14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. 19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. 20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. 21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. (Gen 21:14-21)
Like many forlorn souls, Hagar wandered aimlessly in the wilderness until all hope was expired. The wilderness of Beersheba is a desolate region of the Negev Desert very near to the Dead Sea. Wherever plant life can be seen, if it is not yet dead, it is dying. There is very little water of life in the wilderness of Beersheba. This is very much like the world of sin in which the majority of the world’s population wander. But even in the driest desert, there is a source of water for the wise to discern. The water in Hagar’s bottle expired, and she found herself stranded in the middle of a desert with a child and . . . . no hope of survival. How sad and painful to consider the dejection and despair in the heart of this young woman. She loved her son, Ishmael, more than anything else in the world, and he was her only true possession in the world. But now both are facing a cruel death of thirst. Her feelings are not for herself, but for her dearly beloved son. It is not possible for any of us to imagine the grief she felt if we have never experienced the unconditional love of a mother’s heart.
Just as God the Father could not bear to look upon the death of His own Beloved Son on the Cross, neither could Hagar endure to witness the death of her own son. 45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matt 27:45-46) Where God does not look, there is forever thick darkness. Christ felt that on the cross. Now, Hagar attempts to shield her view of Ishmael’s perishing for want of water. She cast the child under a shrub (the only shade available) and went the distance of a bow’s shot sway. Grieving and weeping, Hagar had reached a point of resignation and complete hopelessness. Have you ever arrived at such a point in your own life? The water of life may have dried up for you, and the sky is like a brazen canopy of heat. All hope is forsaken! Hagar weeps bitterly – so bitterly that she is blinded by tears. The boy, too, was apparently weeping, or calling for his mother. And God heard the voice of the lad. I believe there are two prayers that God will always hear: the voice of a repentant sinner, and the voice of an innocent child. Now God will asks a question that would be obvious to us, but not to a God who knows the end from its beginning.
‘. . . . and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar?” What a question to ask when the answer is already known but, of course, God never asks a question to which He does not know the answer already. Now Hagar faces a “rags-to-riches” situation, “. . . . fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.” This shocking word of hope removed the tears from Hagar’s eyes! “And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.” Notice that no mention is made of God creating a Fountain of Water in that place. He providentially placed it there for this very purpose from the Third Day of Creation. The fountain (like Christ) was there all along, but poor Hagar was too blinded by grief, misery and the cares of the world to see it. Many of us are just like poor Hagar. It is not until we may come to the very last knot of our ropes that we surrender in our hopelessness and are forced to call upon that Power above every other power – or perish.
The human body is composed of approximately 60-65% water. The central governance of life is the brain and heart which contain a higher percentage – 73%. But as Holy Scripture counsels, the LIFE is in the Blood which is comprised of 92% water. For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof. (Lev 17:14) Happening upon a tragic auto accident, you will usually see the police or rescue personnel cover the blood with dust or sand. That is explained in the previous verse 13 of Leviticus 14.
Being the Fountain of Living Waters, all who forsake Christ shall have their names written in the earth. The earth was damned for Adam’s sin. . . . . cursed is the ground for thy sake. (Gen 3:17) Perhaps the wicked Scribes and Pharisees who brought the Woman taken in Adultery to Jesus saw their own names written on the earth by the finger of Jesus – and perhaps a woman’s name beside thereon. I prefer to have my name written in the Book of Life: 5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Rev 3:5)
Any fountain or spring is the source for flowing waters such as creeks or rivers. But the Fountain of Life which is Jesus is a Fountain overflowing continually in cascading waters of pure, rich waters of the Deep.
As Jesus said to our dear Sister at Jacob’s Well: 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14) Perhaps this absolute truth will add meaning to the 23rd Psalm for us – “My cup runneth over.”
That Love-laden Water of Life that our Lord imparts is not standing water, but rather LIVING water. It cannot in any wise be contained, but overflows from the heart of the true believer.
In moments of despair, remember the Source of Living Waters that is our Lord Jesus Christ. He was in the Wilderness with Moses and the Children. It is not common to gather water from a Rock, but all things are possible with our Lord. 19 Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? 20 Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed. (Psalm 78:19-20)
I am certain that the learned Bible scholar will know who was represented by that great Rock? 1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor 10:1-4)
I hope none of our Roman friends are thinking of that Rock as Peter? Peter was a stone of that Rock, but that Rock and Foundation of the Church is Christ!
If we are truly the salt of the earth” as Jesus calls His disciples, we will bear some of the nature of salt, will we not? Salt preserves pure doctrine. Salt heals the hurt and dying. Salt makes life, like food, taste better. Salt was even used by the Roman Army to pay soldiers and that is the source of its name as salt – salarium (salary, too). But there is one property of salt that too many professing Christians lack – salt makes one thirsty. Do we make others around us thirsty for the Gospel in the manner in which we live? Do men become thirsty to know the secret of our joy under all circumstances? Or, have we remained in the salt-shaker so long that we cannot be shaken out and applied due to our piously lumping together? Be Salt! Be Light. Be Love! Be used!