Wells of Living Water

THE PHRASE, ‘WELLS of water of life’, comes from a text found in John 4:14, which reads, “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.”

Water is used in the Bible to symbolize various things, and in each instance its figurative meaning has to be determined by the subject matter in which it is used. For example, in Psalm 69:1 we read, “Save me O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.” Here water is used to symbolize trouble and affliction. A similiar figurative meaning is attached to water in Jeremiah 9:1 where we read, “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears.”

In the language of the Bible, waters often denote a great multitude of people, as in Isaiah 8:7, “Now therefore: behold the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks.” A similar symbolism is attached to the waters in Revelation 17:15, where it says, “The waters which thou sawest … are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”

The Apostle Paul uses water to illustrate the cleansing power of the Word of God, the truth. In Ephesians 5:26, he writes concerning the sanctification of the church and its cleansing “with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” And in Deuteronomy 32:2, we read the words of the Lord saying, “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.” Here we are reminded of the invigorating, life-giving power of the truth—the doctrines or teachings of the divine plan—and it is in keeping with this symbolism that we read of the ‘waters of life’

No one can obtain everlasting life except through Christ, the appointed Redeemer and Life-giver. So the truth which brings us to Christ and points us to the privilege through faith and obedience of laying hold upon him, is very properly called the water of life. This everlasting life will be granted only to those who, when they learn of it and learn of the terms upon which it will be granted as a gift, zealously seek for it by living in harmony with the spirit of sacrifice and holiness. Yes, it is a gift, for Paul wrote in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In keeping with this we read in Galatians 6:8, “He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

In order to gain this everlasting life we must become the Lord’s sheep and follow his voice, the voice of the Good Shepherd. In John 10:27,28, Jesus is reported as saying, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life: and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” In John 17:3, in his prayer to the Father, Jesus said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” The gift of eternal life will not be forced upon any. On the contrary, it must be desired and earnestly sought after. Paul writes of ‘laying hold’ of eternal life. “Fight the good fight of faith,” he declares in I Timothy 6:12, “lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

If we have, by faith, partaken of the water of life then we should experience the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise as found in our text. His Word, his teachings, should be in us as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. This well of water which springs up in the life of every Christian who is fully consecrated to God’s service, is the outflow of the truth for the blessing and refreshing of others. The Greek word in our text translated ‘springing up’, has the thought of ‘gushing forth’, or to ‘leap out’. How true this is in our experience of presenting the truth to others. If we truly appreciate the truth as we should, if this refreshing water of life has vitalized our own lives, it is bound to ‘gush forth’ with living energy to those who have a hearing ear.

The words of Jesus recorded in John 7:37,38, corroborate this. It was on the great feast day and Jesus stood up amidst the multitude and cried, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott reads, “Out of him shall flow rivers of living water.” Thus the Lord shows that all the members of his body will be fountains of living water. This simply means that they will be active in giving forth the truth; the truth means so much to them, and it is such a joy to tell it out to others, that this ministry of the Gospel will be the uppermost thought in their hearts.

What a privilege it is! Surely our lives should be fully devoted to such an exalted cause. May we never lose an opportunity of cooperating with our Lord in giving out the water of life to others that they also may be blessed. If we are faithfully following in the footsteps of our beloved Lord and Savior, the water of life will issue forth from our lips at all times. Yes, it will gush forth. Who is there of the Lord’s children who has not experienced the inestimable joy of presenting to others the glorious Gospel of salvation! And how that joy increases as we see some grow and develop in grace and knowledge of the Lord. Then they too become wells of water, springing up into everlasting life.

In order to continue as wells of water of life it is absolutely necessary that we keep ourselves in closest harmony and contact with our only true source of supply, and not seek other sources of water, as did the children of Israel. Concerning these the Lord said, as recorded in Jeremiah 2:13, “My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters [the truth] and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Here the Lord upbraids the children of Israel for having forsaken him, who is the fountain of living water. The Lord thus sets before us an example and is warning us against a similar wrong course. We forsake him when we forsake his Word and cease to appreciate the living waters of truth which he has provided for us in this harvest time, at the end of this Gospel Age. Those who do this are like the Israelites of old; their cisterns are leaky and they lose the truth. They cease to be wells of water. No longer can they ‘gush forth’ the true, the pure, the refreshing water of life, which is so invigorating to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.

During our Lord’s ministry, at the beginning of the Gospel Age, he selected twelve apostles and gave them the message of the kingdom. They were sent out to proclaim this message. Each and every one of these was to be a well of water. The water of life which ‘gushed forth’ from them has refreshed the entire church; and how invigorating their message is to us, even at this end of the age! Jesus himself was the greatest of all wells of water. Immediately after he came out of the wilderness, having been tempted by the Devil, he began his ministry. Many were attracted to him. In Luke 6:13-16, we are told that Jesus called unto his disciples, “and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also called Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon called Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.”

Most of these were from the humbler walks of life. They were invited to become associates in the ministry of the Gospel and the record is that they forsook all to follow Jesus. These twelve were selected prior to Pentecost, when their full ministry began, in order that they might have the opportunity of being personally with Jesus and be specially trained by him. The apostles heard the Gospel message of the kingdom directly from Jesus, from his own lips. They beheld his miracles—the wonderful works of God accomplished through him. What a tremendous power this must have been in their lives when later they went out into the unbelieving world to ‘gush forth’ the symbolic water of life, the truth, the Gospel of the kingdom.

In one of Jesus’ last appearances to his apostles after his resurrection, he said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.”—Luke 24:46-48

Thus the apostles became wells of water which we still have with us today. Today we still have their recorded testimony—we learn about the fruits of their labor, their discourses, their epistles, their counsel on the various topics of Christian doctrine and practice, as proof that they were wells of living water, that they were faithful in ‘gushing forth’ the water of truth to all in their day who had ears to hear. The Apostle Paul, who took the place of Judas, said, as reported in Acts 20:27, “I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” What a wonderful well of living water he was. There are twenty-seven books in the New Testament and St. Paul wrote fourteen of them—more than half the books of the entire New Testament. Surely out of him did flow rivers of living water!

After the apostles fell asleep in death, and as Jesus had foretold in his parable of the wheat and the tares, Satan over-sowed the Lord’s field with tares. During the Dark Ages these tares were wells of impure water. Instead of giving out the pure water of life they gave out waters of hatred, persecution, threats of eternal torture for all who did not subscribe to their God-dishonoring teachings and give their souls to them in abject, demoralizing obedience. During this period of time the great Antichrist was developed, a subtle and persistent opponent of true Christianity, and the most fiendish persecutor of the true saints. The rapid development of the Antichrist was remarkable. The ‘prince of this world’ was true to his promise to give power and dominion as a reward for worshiping him.

As a counterfeit, this system has misrepresented the plan of God with reference to the selection of the little flock during the Gospel Age. It has set aside the real hope of the church, as well as the Lord’s provision through Christ and the church for the blessing of the world during the millennial reign of Christ. Did the counterfeit kingdom of Christ hold and exercise power over the truly consecrated people of God and overcome them or ‘wear them out’, as the Prophet Daniel had foretold? We answer, yes. Every diabolic means that could be thought of was employed in an effort to crush out the spirit of true Christianity and to substitute the spirit, doctrines, and formalism of the Antichrist. In the poisoned water that issued forth from that corrupt system were the false teachings of inherent immortality, and trinity, eternal torture, etc. This was the time when, as pictured in Revelation 12:6, “the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” Yes, here the true church was fed by the Lord with the water of life, and in 1799 when Papacy’s power to persecute was broken, there began the ‘time of the end’, the day of the Lord’s preparation. Then came 1874 when our Lord returned, and provided the feast he promised, as recorded in Luke 12:37, “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”

Since then, wells of living water have been springing up and ‘gushing forth’ the water of life all over the world. Particularly is this true since the advent of the radio and TV. The widespread manner in which the truth has gone out over the radio and TV could be one of the ways that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 10:27: “What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.” We might paraphrase this to read, “What I tell you during this time of darkness, that preach ye from the tops of the radio and TV towers!” In any case we rejoice that now, at the very close of this Gospel Age, wells of water are ‘gushing forth’ the glorious message of the kingdom throughout the whole earth. Soon then will come the end when the actual kingdom will be established in the earth and life-giving waters will begin to flow out to all the families of the earth—not just the promise of life but actual life, to as many as will receive it on the terms of obedience upon which it will be offered.

The Prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of the actual waters of life as they will flow out to the people during the kingdom age. This vision is recorded in Ezekiel, the 47th chapter, and says that first it will be a small stream from under the door of the house, or the Temple. The prophet steps into the stream, and it comes up to his ankles. As the stream flowed downward it became deeper. After another thousand cubits it went to the prophet’s knees. Another thousand cubits were measured and the water was up to his loins. Still another thousand cubits were measured and, at this point, the prophet said, “It was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.” (vss. 1-5) Thus the waters, the river of life, will be so abundant that only those who willfully reject this loving provision of the Lord will fail to get life.

This is the same symbolic River of Life as described in Revelation, chapter 22, and in the 17th verse of this chapter we read, “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come, … and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” In Ezekiel’s vision of this river, and also John’s, they see on both sides of the river trees of life, bearing twelve manner of fruit every month. This is John’s description of the trees. Ezekiel tells us that the leaves of the trees are for ‘medicine’, and John writes that the leaves are for the ‘healing’ of the nations. Yes, in Christ’s glorious kingdom, where the fruit of life and the leaves of the trees will heal the repentant peoples of the earth of all imperfections, then joy and happiness will eternally fill the earth. Of that time we read in Zechariah 14:8,9, “It shall be [said] in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name [shall be acknowledged] one.”

Another Millennial Age blessing in which the waters of life are seen being supplied to the people is given in Isaiah 12:3, which reads, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water from the wells of salvation.” These are the same wells that have throughout the Gospel Age been ‘gushing forth’ the promises of life. In this harvest period particularly, these wells have been proclaiming the glorious restitution hope, but in the kingdom the saints of God will be glorified and, together with the Lord, be giving actual life to the people. Their enthusiasm now for telling out the message proves them worthy of the participation with their Master in the actual work of giving life to the people—of being wells from which all the families of the earth will obtain the water of salvation.

Another beautiful picture of the church in association with Jesus in the kingdom is found in Revelation 14:1-5. The Revelator said, “I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts [living ones], and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault.”

The purpose of the 144,000 being with the Lamb on Mount Zion is clearly revealed in the last verse of Obadiah’s prophecy, where we read, “Saviors shall come up on Mount Zion … and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” What a glorious prospect is here set before us of being saviors, those from whom the water of life will flow out to the people.

Eventually, as a result of this kingdom work giving help and life to the people, writes the Prophet Habakkuk (2:14), the whole earth “shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Truly God’s plan is wonderful, and may we endeavor to ever be more appreciative of the share he is permitting us now to have of ‘gushing forth’ the truth that others may be refreshed and blessed. May we, by the Lord’s grace, be faithful unto death. No wonder John said in I John 3:1, “What manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us”!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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