As a fountain casts out her waters, so she casts out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her…
A fountain, as mentioned in Scripture, is generally suggestive of a most gracious and abundant supply of the highest good; even as in Jeremiah 2:13 and John 4:14. How very noteworthy, then, to find that the fountain, which naturally suggests all that is bright, beautiful, and refreshing, should be so turned away from its common place in poetic use as to become the most impressive illustration of Jerusalem's polluted heart! Indeed, an imaginative writer would probably get severely criticized if he used the figure of a fountain for such a purpose; and yet, when one thinks it over, this very unexpectedness makes the figure more instructive. The poetry of a prophet must, above all things, have arresting power in it. Think, then, of the fountain. Think of it, first of all, in its usual aspect, pouring forth a bright, pleasant-sounding stream, as inspiring to the mind as it is refreshing to the thirsty mouth. But all this view must be instantly and decidedly put away. Instead of the clear, sparkling water there must come into the mind the thought of a feculent, poisonous flood, and of the force that lies behind it, some deep inward energy hidden in the secret places of the earth. A continuity of most pestiferous evil comes from these secret places, and even by such an image as this is the actual wickedness of Jerusalem set forth. The hearts of its people are gathering-places for a destructive stream, always flowing forth and always replenished. They never get tired of their wickedness and never repent of it. Then one remembers that the hearts of men were destined for a very different purpose. Just as the devout heart perceives that God meant these crevices and great caverns in the earth to gather and pour forth the refreshing streams of water, so he meant the hearts of the children of men to gather and pour forth all manner of loving, hopeful, patiently pursued projects for the good of others and for the glory of God. The woman of Samaria evidently came to Jesus with a heart that was indeed a fountain casting out wickedness, but she heard the delightful news that Jesus could give her water which should be in her "a well of water springing up into eternal life." There is another Jerusalem besides this earthly and polluted one. Jeremiah was not the only one who told people to fly out of it because of impending destruction. Jesus, in his prophetic words, spoke with even greater emphasis - a thing to be expected. The earthly Jerusalem, great and glorious as it once was, is now called spiritually Sodom and Egypt, for it is the place where our Lord was crucified (Revelation 11:8). The Jerusalem to be thought of henceforth is the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It has many glories, many beauties, many surpassing gifts of grace for needy men, and not the least is this, that there is "a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." And may we not say that this river is constituted by the numberless fountains that flow out of every renewed heart? The glory of the river is God's, but the service and dedication which bring that river into existence are the privilege of God's people. We are to let our thoughts dwell on the deplorable fountain Jeremiah speaks of here, only that we may see more clearly and gratefully the spring of true and abiding goodness which he can put in its place. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually is grief and wounds.