There is a project in my garage waiting to be tackled, Grandpa Joe’s windmill. It’s a three-legged prairie windmill that was originally used to pump water from a farmer’s well. Grandpa originally restored it in the ’70s. I always enjoyed turning it on whenever I visited. Lifting the lever to release the brake. Watching the vane swing out, catch the wind, and steer the head into the breeze so the multi-bladed wheel could begin to turn. Originally, the rotation of the wheel was changed by the head to a reciprocal motion. This motion was transferred by a rod to the pump which pulled water from the well. In John 7 Jesus declares, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ” (John 7:37–38, NASB95)
The Source: David wrote in Psalm 36, “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house, And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.” (Psalm 36:7–9, NASB95) There is something alive, joyful, and playful about a fountain. The water seems to dance in the air, play with the light, and splash to the earth again. Man-made fountains are primarily recirculating pumps, but God’s fountain is different. A natural fountain is essentially a spring of underground water that has burst to the surface and constantly flows. Its description as being like a fountain tells us two things. The first is that the water is fresh, it is not surface water that can easily be contaminated but fresh water, living water, that is constantly renewed by God. The second is that it is visible. God’s fountain of life is not hidden. It announces its invitation with the sparkle of light, the dance of its movement, and the roar of its splash.
The Promise: Similar to Jesus declaration in John 7 he told the woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13–14, NASB95) The promise is that if we drink from the fountain of life it will bubble up in our own lives. There is a progression of sorts in Jesus’ promise. A well is like a fountain in that it is constantly refreshed. However, a well does not have the pressure of a fountain. So a well can be hidden. Where a fountain generously offers a drink, it takes an effort to draw water from a well. However, the rest of the promise is that the well will become like a spring and bubble to the surface, becoming both visible and available. Jesus, of course, remains the source, we remain a vessel of His grace. But as we continue to draw from the well of salvation, as we continue to abide in Christ, what Christ gives us becomes visible and available to those around us.
The Warning: There is a man-made kind of fake well called a cistern. Jeremiah warns, “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13, NASB95) Cisterns are essentially like rain barrels dug into the ground. From the outside, they look like wells, but they have no constant source and may become stagnant. Those who forsake God, who don’t source their life in Jesus Christ, are essentially digging cisterns. Instead of drinking from the fountain of life they hope to find relief for their parched life from the rain that God causes to fall on the just and the unjust. Worse yet, their cisterns are cracked so that what little rainwater they do collect quickly drains away.
The Encouragement: Drink deeply from the fountain of life that is before God’s throne and forsake digging cisterns of self-satisfaction. Abide constantly in Christ, for our life is found only in Him. Allow His life in us to become a refreshment for ourselves and to invitingly bubble to the surface for those around us.