Therefore with joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation.
I. Consider what we have to understand by THE WELLS OF SALVATION.
1. We are not to be content with any shallow and narrow interpretation of either idea in that phrase. No doubt "salvation" in the Old Testament often means merely outward deliverance from material peril. We shall not strain the meaning here, if we take salvation almost in the fully developed New Testament sense, as including, negatively, the deliverance from all evil, both evil of sin and evil of sorrow, and, positively, the endowment with all good, good both of holiness and happiness, which God can bestow or man receive.
2. Then if so, God Himself is, in the deepest truth, the Well of Salvation. The figure of our text does not point to a well so much as to a spring. It is a source, not a reservoir. So we have but to recall, the deep and wonderful words of the psalmist": "With Thee is the fountain of life, and others not less profound of the prophet: "They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters," in order to be led up to the essential meaning of this text. Salvation has its origin in the depths of God's own nature. It wells up as of itself, not drawn forth by anything in us, but pouring out as from an inner impulse in His own deep heart. Surely, too, if God be the fountain of salvation, the essence of salvation must be His communication of Himself. The water is the same in the fountain as in the pitcher. But, God being the true fountain of salvation, notice that Jesus Christ plainly and decisively puts Himself in the place that belongs to God: "If any man thirst," etc. Think of the extraordinary claims involved in that invitation. Every craving of heart and mind, all longings for love and wisdom, for purity and joy, for strength and guidance, He assumes to be able to slake by the gift of Himself.
3. One other remark may be made on this part of our subject. The first word of our text carries us back to something preceding, on which the drawing water with joy is founded. That something is expressed immediately before: "The Lord Jehovah is my strength and song," etc. These words are quoted from Moses' song at the Red Sea, and there point to the one definite act by which God had saved the people from their pursuers. In like manner, we have to look to a definite historical act by which the fountain of salvation has been opened for us, and our glad drawing therefrom has been made possible. The mission and work of Jesus Christ, His incarnation, passion and death, are the means by which the sealed fountain has been opened. For men, Jesus Christ is as the river which flows from the closed and land-locked sea of the infinite Divine nature. He is for us the only source, the inexhaustible, the perennial source — like some spring never hot or muddy, never frozen, never walled in, never sinking one hairbreadth in its basin, though armies drink, and ages pass.
II. Consider again, what is THE WAY OF DRAWING from the wells of salvation.
1. Christ has taught us what "drawing" is. To the Samaritan woman He said, "Thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water." So then Drawing is Asking. To the crowds in the temple courts He said, "Let him come unto Me and drink." So, then, Drawing is Coming. To the listeners by the Sea of Galilee He said, "He that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst." So Coming, Asking, Drawing, are all explained by Believing.
2. Now that faith which is thus powerful, must fasten on a definite historical fact. The faith which draws from the fountain of salvation is not a vague faith in generalities about God's goodness and the like, but it grasps God as revealed and becoming our salvation in the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
3. The words preceding our text suggest another characteristic of the faith which really draws water from the fountain: "He is become my salvation." That is to say, this believing grasp of Christ manifested in a definite historical act is an intensely personal thing,
3. Consider, too, THE JOY OF THE WATER DRAWERS. The well is the meeting place in these hot lands, where the solitary shepherds from the pastures and the maidens from the black camels' hair tents meet in the cool evening, and ringing laughter and cheery talk go round. Or the allusion may be rather to the joy, as of escape from death, with which some exhausted travellers press towards the palm trees on the horizon that tell of a spring in the desert, and when they have reached it, crowd to the fountain and drink greedily, no matter how hot and muddy it may be. So jubilant is the heart of the man whose soul is filled and feasted with the God of his salvation, and the salvation of his God. Such a man has all the sources and motives for joy which the heart can ask.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.