Blessings Traced To Their Source
“All my springs are in You.”
It does one good to think that there are such things in the world as springs bubbling up in the shady nooks. Places of sweet refreshment in this dusty earth. The mouth waters at the very thought of the palms of Elim and the wells there. If even to us fresh springs are a blessing, much more must they have been so to the Psalmist who lived in a dry and thirsty land which owed almost all its fertility to irrigation. Nothing is more precious to the Oriental than a well. And he who finds a spring of water counts himself a much happier man than he who has found a vein of precious metal. We must, therefore, transfer the thought of precious water springing up copiously, bubbling up with living force, to our spiritual condition–and then say with David, “All my springs are in You.” That is to say, we trace all the mercies we receive to their fountainhead! The Psalmist was grateful for the blessings that were conferred upon him. He did not receive them with selfish inattention but, considering them well, he found that every good gift and every perfect gift came from his God. He had learned that not only everything good around him, but everything that was within him that was good came from the same source! And discovering within himself a living power, a living well of water within his own nature, he traced that, also, to the Grace of God–and said, “All my springs are in You.”
Did he not mean, first, “ all the springs I drink of are in You"All the springs withinmyself come from You”? I do not know that those two heads comprise even one-tenth of the thoughts that might arise out of our text, but then we have not time to take such a great text as this and consider it in full. We shall, therefore, just take the two series of thoughts that will spring up under those heads.
- The first thought is, ALL THE SPRINGS I DRINK OF ARE IN YOU.
To begin, he may have remembered the deep which lies under. In the benediction upon Joseph, Moses said that hewas to have the blessing of the deep which couches beneath. Deep down in the earth are vast reservoirs of water and when these are tapped, they spring up and we are refreshed by them. These are symbolical of the mighty fountains of Eternal Love, the electing Grace of God, the Infinite fullness of the heart of God in His own Nature, for, “His nature and His name are Love.” When we get to the great fountains of the Infinite, Eternal, Immutable Love of the Father towards His chosen people, then, indeed, we come to the fountainhead of all the streams which make the people of God glad! There is not a blessing we receive but it may be traced to the eternal purpose of God! We may see, on every single benediction of the Covenant, the stamp of the eternal purpose and decree–
“The streams of love I trace
Up to the Fountain, God.
And in His mighty breast I see
Eternal thoughts of love to me.”
Every Christian who is rightly taught, who understands the Word of God and is not afraid of the fullness of the Truth of God, will ascribe all the springs of Grace that he ever drinks of, to the eternal Fountain. God said to Job, “Have you entered into the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in the search of the depth?” This is a mysterious subject and we cannot find these secret springs, but yet we know that they are there. We rejoice in them and bless the Lord for them!
But, using only illustrations from Scripture, when the Psalmist said, “All my fresh springs are in You”–for that is the force of the expression he uses–may he not have thought of that Rock from which the living water leaped in the wilderness, so that all the multitude that were in the desert drank of the stream? Those who had true knowledge of God also drank of that spiritual Rock which followed them and we know that, “that Rock was Christ.” That Rock, too, was struck and, straightway it became a spring of water for all the tribes, even as our smitten Savior has now become the Spring from which all of us drink. So I may say–
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
You my sacred Fount shall be.”
We find, leaping from the cleft in His side, the cleansing blood and the refreshing water, too. As I said at first, that we may trace all our blessings to electing redeeming love. There is a crimson mark on every blessing of the Covenant!–
“There’s never a gift His hand bestows
But cost His heart a groan.”
That is a most sure and precious Truth of God! As we look to our dear Lord upon the Cross and see Him also exalted in His Glory, remembering that “it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell,” and that of His fullness have all we received, and Grace for Grace,“ we can truly say to Him, "Emmanuel, all my springs are in You.”
We meet, in Holy Scripture, with another illustration. In the times of Abraham there were certain wells which he dug, the possession of which were disputed by the Philistines. And when Isaac afterwards had to go into Philistia, he found that the wells which Abraham had dug had been filled up by the Philistines. He therefore dug others and when the Philistines began to argue with his herdsmen, he moved on further and dug another well–and the Philistines strove again for that. He moved again, for he was a peaceful man, and found they strove for that–it seemed as if he could have no water without having to contend for it.
Sometimes the wells of which we drink are springs concerning which there is grave contention. There are some thatdeny the most precious Doctrines of the Gospel. There is a sound of the shooting of archers at the place of the drawing of water. And when a poor, simple child of God would come and let down his bucket and take a draught, he finds the bowman’s shaft flying past his ears! Somebody has discovered that one Doctrine is not Scriptural, and that another Doctrine is not rational, so the thirsty soul becomes afraid to drink of that well! What is worse, if there should not be any controversy about the Truth, itself, he will find a controversy in his own soul as to his right to appropriate it. Satan, the accuser of the brethren, will remind him of his faults, will tell him he can have no part or lot in the matter, or else he would not be what he is. They who are delivered from the noise of the archers in the place, of drawing water shall, bless the name of the Lord as they drink!
And truly, Brothers and Sisters, if we did but always remember that all our mercies come from God–hat whatever logic may insist upon, it must be true that salvation is of the Lord–that whichever ism may be right, whichever side ofcontroversy may have made an accurate statement, it must be correct that every good gift comes from “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning”–then we would find that, let the enemy contest as he will, we have access to the refreshing stream! Since all the springs worth drinking are in God our Father and Christ our Redeemer, we can come to these and drink without fear, for God is ours, Christ is ours and, therefore, every Covenant blessing is ours, too! Therefore, laying aside all disputing and contention, we come and drink of these wells because they are in God and in Christ our Savior!
We read, in the Book of Judges, of two springs of water. You often mention them in prayer. Indeed, they are a kind of proverb in the Christian Church. There were the upper springs and the nether springs. Now every child of God whojudges rightly knows that the nether springs are in his God. I mean his lower comforts, his temporal mercies. What would we have of earthly good worth enjoying if God did not give it to us? If you get wealth, who gives you power to get it? And if you have health, who is it that preserves your strength of limb and the blood that still leaps within your veins? He has but to will it and you would be a paralytic, or a consumptive like so many others. Your children are spared to you–bless God for each of them, for it is He that spares them! Your husband or your wife, your brother or your sister, the joys that cluster around the hearth–all these come to you through Him. They are common mercies, we say, but we would not think them so common if we had to miss them for a while! Let us bless God and see His hand in them all, and say, “Great Father, even my nether springs are in You.”
But when we come to the thought of the upper springs, we have no question connecting them. If we possess eternal life, God gave it to us. If we believe in Jesus, faith is not a flower that ever springs from the natural soil of man’s heart. If we have repentance unto life, it is the work of the Spirit of God. If we have been kept until now, faithful to our profession, we have nothing of which we can glory–we would have gone back from it if God had not preserved us. We have not had one single jot of anything from the first day until now, but we have derived it from the Lord’s Infinite Mercy! All add, “Sing you unto it,” and bless and magnify that perennial Fountain of Mercy which perpetually flows to us? The old classical poets went to Helicon for their inspiration–they drank of that spring upon Mount Parnassus. But as for us, we will say, with that poetess of the sanctuary–
“Come, You Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Your Grace,
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise.”
We have no Parnassus, but we have a better Mountain–
“Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above!
Praise the Mount–oh, fix me on it,
Mount of God’s unchanging love!”
From this source will we derive the inspiration of our muse. Here shall we find the burden of our song. The upper and the nether springs come alike from God–yes, “All my springs are in You.”
You may read, if you turn to the 104 th . They are the places for springswhere the wild beasts come to drink, and each of them does quench his thirst. And where the birds sing among the branches. You and I have had our valley mercies. We have been humiliated, perhaps, and we have sung with the shepherd’s boy in the Valley of Humiliation–
“He that is down needs fear no fall.
He that is low, no pride.
He that is humble, ever shall
Have God to be his Guide.”
We have been in the Valley of Baca and made it a well–and the rain has filled the pools. We have been in the Valley of Fellowship with Christ, walking along the cool vale of communion with our Father who is in Heaven–and behold, it has been a place of springs–of springs full of water! There is not one joy in our best and happiest time but comes from God. In our choicest moments, when we are most like our Lord and most free from the encumbrances of the earth, never, even then, have we anything good that is to be ascribed to ourselves! If it be good, it all comes from God!
Then, we read in Isaiah, and in some other passages which I need not quote, of the streams in the desert. “In the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert…I will open rivers in high places.” That is an odd place for rivers! “Rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.” Do you, Beloved, remember your dry-land springs? Can you not remember when you ate of treasures hidden in the sand–when it was dark, and yet was never so much light? When you were in the land of barrenness, and yet were never so filled with plenty? When you had abounding troubles and yet never had such super abounding comforts? Oh, let us bless the Lord that our desert springs were in Him! They were in Him, or we would not have had them! Had not the Lord been with us, we would have fallen and died in the wilderness like those who came out of Egypt, whose carcasses strewed the plain!
If you turn to the 4 th Chapter of Deuteronomy, verse 49, you will read about springs that some of God’s saints drinkof that are not often mentioned–
the springs of Pisgah. Moses there speaks of the springs that came from the foot of Pis
gah. And believe me, they are cool streams, indeed, and supply drink that goes down sweetly and makes the lips of them that sleep to speak! He who knows what Heaven is and has, by faith, viewed it–who has seen its security, its purity, its nearness to God, its revelation of the face of Christ, its communion of saints, its joy of the Lord–such an one has found the Pisgah springs to be very precious and very soul-reviving! Oh, for a draught of them now! I think some of us had such a draught at our last Prayer Meeting when we talked together, and sang the hymn that ends–
“A scrip on my back, and a staff in my hand,
I march on in haste through an enemy’s land.
The road may be rough, but it cannot be long,
And I’ll smooth it with hope, and cheer it with song.”
The prospect of the coming Glory makes the Pisgah springs well up–and all of them are in our God, for there is no true hope of Heaven without Him! There would be banishment into eternal woe if it were not for His Infinite Grace!
Thus I might continue to use the similes of Scripture, and show that whatever sort of springs there may be, they all come from the great deep of the Infinite Love of God and that all our springs are in Him.
II. But now we come to our second point, namely, that ALL THE SPRINGS THAT ARE WITHIN US COME FROM THE SAME SOURCE.
You know that our Savior says, concerning the man who drinks of the water that He gives, that it “shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” A Christian is not a cistern that is filled and emptied, but, by God’s Grace, he becomes a living well! He is not a puppet moved with strings. He is not a machine that is wound up and goes by wheels mechanically worked–there is a living Power in him! He is a new creature in Christ Jesus, instinct with the highest form of life and that life possessed in the highest degree of freedom, for while a man is naturally a free agent, yet he is in a far superior sense a free agent when he becomes a converted soul! “If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”
Our text, then, may mean this–that all the springs of our inner life lie in God. “For you are dead, and your life ishid with Christ in God.” “And you has He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Christ is your life. All the springs of life are in Him.
And hence, next, all the springs of our secret thought and of our devotion are in Him. You cannot always think ofGod and worship God alike. At least if you can, and it is real devotion, I greatly envy you. I find that in my soul, there are times when I have the wings of an eagle and can mount up and, with unblinking eyes, look into the Infinite Glory and I can soar on and on in strange ecstasy and delight. At another time, I cannot rise from the ground. The chariot wheels are taken off, as in Pharaoh’s case, so that we drag heavily. Then Dr. Watts' words seem appropriate–
“Our souls can neither fly nor go,
To reach eternal joys.”
The preacher, too, is sometimes fertile enough and, at another time barren. Truly, the Christian’s experience is not unlike Pharaoh’s dreams. He has lean and fat cattle, withered ears, and ears rank and good come up. This is doubtless to show him that when he has sacred thoughts and devotion, they come from God. In order that he may see that, he is sometimes left to prove his own emptiness. To show that the strength of Sampson does not lie in muscle and sinew and bone, alone, his hair is shorn and when he goes forth as before, he performs no feat of strength–he is as weak as any other man. Yes, Beloved, if we have any power of thought, or sweetness of devotion in drawing near to God, all the springs lie in Him.
So is it, most certainly, with
the springs of our emotions. Do you not find yourselves sometimes sweetly melted down
by the power of God’s Word? Could you not, at such times, sit and weep under the thought of the death of Jesus and His unspeakable love to you? Sometimes do you not feel stirred with sacred joy, so that you could burst out with an impromptu hallelujah, or begin to sing a new song to the praise of His great love wherewith He has loved you? At other times you think about the same theme, but your heart feels no power–the same song is sung, but though your lips join in it, your heart does not go with the melody. You know it is so.
You cannot command your own spirit–the Lord must help you. The springs of your emotions lie in His hands. If He leaves you, you are like the Arctic sea, frost-bound. But when He comes and smiles upon you, all the icebergs melt in a moment and your heart feels the warm Gulf Stream of Eternal Love flowing right through it! Then there comes the time of the blossoming of Spring and the singing of the birds–the whole heart is alive unto the Most High! The springs of your emotions, as well as of your sacred thought and devotion all lie in Him!
And I am sure it is so with regard to the springs of all true actions. Christians are not all thought and all emotion–they are practical men and women–and seek to work for God. But did any of us ever do a good work in our own strength? We have done many works in our own strength, but were they good for anything? The Savior shall decide that question. “Without Me you can do nothing,” He says. You can bring forth fruit without Him, but your fruits are as the vines of Sodom and of the fields of Gomorrah. Only that is right which comes from Him. When He blesses us, our actions done for Him are accepted through Him.
Well, Beloved, it will always be so, that our springs of holy zeal, our springs of joy, our springs of fellowship, our springs of every kind that are worth the having, all lie in Him! And it will be good if the whole Church recognizes that fact. We cannot get up a revival–it is a great pity that we should ever try to do so–for such a revival, if we seem to get it, will be very mischievous. But the Lord can send us a true revival! All our springs are in Him. We must not depend upon ministers and pray, “If So-and-So shall preach, good results will follow.” Our springs are not in these poor cisterns, they are in our God! When will the Church try to look away from the creature to the Creator? When will she purge herself of that hereditary fault of hewing out for herself, broken cisterns, and forgetting the Fountain of Livings Waters? I am persuaded, from my own experience, that the more I live upon God, alone, the more I truly live and the less I know increases, the more do I grow up in the Lord in all things. May we, then, each one of us, adopt this sweet motto and always say, “All my springs which are within me, as well as those of which I drink, are in my God.”
I shall only keep you long enough to say three more things–
The first of which is, let us look to these springs. If you do not feel up to the mark, if you are dull and heavy and haveno springs in yourself, remember that they never were there! “All my springs are in You.” Do you feel empty? Well, you only feel just as you are! You feel as though there was death written upon you. Quite so, there is! Your life is in Christ! Your fullness is in Christ! Your strength is in Christ! Has it been reported to you that Christ has lost His power, that His life has declined? If it were so, you would have great cause, indeed, for weeping, but while He is the same, the well of water is the same! I know, tonight that you are like Hagar–the water is spent in the bottle. Well, it never was much of a bottle, and it leaks. Now you think, “What shall I do? All my little store is gone.” “What ails you, Hagar?” There is a well near you. Open your eyes, for God sees you and God provides for you! Christ is always the same.
“Oh, but I think I have forgotten Him,” you say. Then remember Him. “But I fear I am not one of His people.” Well, if you are not a saint, you are a sinner–and He came to save sinners. I always find the short cut to Christ to be the best one. “Oh,” says Satan, “you are no child of God.” “No,” I say to him, “nor are you, either.” “Ah,” he says, “but you have no true experience.” “No,” I reply, “I have not, nor have you, either, but one thing I know–I am sinful and Christ has said that washing in His blood by faith, I shall be made clean. If I cannot go to Him as a saint, I will go even now as a sinner! Suppose I have been mistaken in the past, I will begin again.” Child of God, that is the only way to end the controversy. Go and stand at the foot of the Cross, again. Begin again, for all your springs are still there! Though you cannot find any springs in yourself, they are still in God!
The next thought is this. If all my springs are in God, then let all my streams flow to God. All the rivers run into thesea because they all came from the sea. It was from the sea that the sun drew up the clouds which fed the thousand rills which fall into the rivers–and so the rivers run back to the sea. Let us do the same. What we have had from God must go to God. Even in temporals we ought to do this. I remember a story of Martin Luther’s. When certain monks complained that the income of the monastery had got very slack, he said, “Yes, and no wonder, because once they used to entertain two strangers at the monastery, the one named DateItshall be given , and very soon God took away It shall be givenback, you must also haveDate.”
When we are not serving God acceptably–consecrating everything to God–we lose supplies from God. In temporals, I have known men give to God by the shovelfuls–and God sent silent wagon loads by the back door–they could not send back their substance as fast as He sent it in! Jesus said, “Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom”–and many have found it so. Your mean skinflints have gone on flint-skinning until they died and have left hardly enough to be buried with respectably. While others have scattered and yet increased. If our springs are in Him even in temporal things, let the streams run back to Him. Let us not rob God! And as to spiritual things, let us give back to God the more He gives us–the faith He gives us, the spiritual strength He gives us. Let us use for Him the experience He has given us, the instruction He has given us. Let us instruct and encourage others to His Glory with what we have received! Let us lay out every talent and keep none buried in the earth. May the Lord grant to each of us Divine Grace to always say to Him, “As all my springs are in You, so all my streams shall be to You.”
And, lastly, let us have a great deal of hope about other people, because if all the streams are in God, I have not to consider, when I go forth to do good to my fellow man, what is in them–I have to consider what is in God! When I address a sinner and say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” I do it because God tells me to do it–just as I would have said to the dry bones, “Live”–and if I do it in God’s name, being perfectly sure they cannot believe of themselves, then I am doing right, for I am exercising my own faith! It is an act of faith on the preacher’s part–and God will bless that act of faith–and many of the dry bones will live, sinners will repent and will, by His Grace, believe the Gospel!
We must not think that our hope lies in what is in the sinner. I heard a man preach about the adaptation of the sinner to the Gospel and I thought he was very foolish, for what is there in the sinner but everything that is opposed to the Gospel, everything uncongenial, everything that would put the Gospel to death if it could?
All the power of the Gospel lies in itself, not in the sinner–salvation comes from God, and God alone. Therefore there is no reason why I should not preach the Gospel with a hope of success in Wandsworth Prison, or in the lowest slums in London! You may distribute tracts and give warnings to the harlot and the thief with good hope of success. In fact, there are often ridges in the lowest soils, like the clearings of the backwoods in the West, which are not plowed and tilled till the goodness has gone out, as it were–to them the Gospel comes as a strange novelty. It was so in the Savior’s day. The Pharisees, who knew so much, rejected His Word, but the publicans and harlots entered into the Kingdom of Heaven before them.
Therefore, there is nothing about the sinner to make us hesitate to preach to him because if he is dead, God can lift him up. Yes, if he is like Lazarus, dead and buried, the Voice of God can call him forth from the tomb! Yes, if he were as nothing, God makes the things that are not, to be mightier than the things that are! He can bless where all was cursed. Out of the stones of the brook He can raise up children to Abraham. Let us have great comfort, next Sunday, in going to preach, or to teach in the Sunday school, or to engage in other forms of usefulness. All the springs lie in God and if we are going to work in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water, never mind! Our springs are in God–our faith is in Him and, according to our faith, so shall it be done to us. Amen.