The Fountain of Life (1)
by Brian D. Dykstra, teacher at Hope PRCS in Walker, MI
“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death” (Prov. 14:27).
“And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake” (II Kings 2:19-22).
The verse in Proverbs speaks of a fountain, a good source of water. I quoted the verses from II Kings because they remind us of the importance of water to people. These men had found what would have been a pleasant place to live. Perhaps the location helped them to do their work and the fertile soil would allow them to grow some of their own food. However, they faced a big problem. No matter how many factors were favourable, they could not live there if the water was bad. The bad water made it impossible for them to grow food. The ground was barren, producing no fruit. They needed Elisha’s help. Elisha healed the waters, and the men had a fruitful place to live. People need water.
When people don’t drink enough water, they suffer dehydration. The brain will not function well, and our internal organs can not do their work to maintain health. During times of emergencies, some people have managed to live for quite a while without food as long as they had a good supply of water.
We also see the importance of a fountain of water for life when we read about communities where the water became polluted, contaminated. Contaminated water is a major problem for communities hit by hurricanes. Flood water picks up all kinds of dirty, unhealthy things and that water sneaks into the water supply. Bringing in good water is one of the first jobs to do when trying to help a hurricane-damaged community.
We have sometimes heard in the news about the effects of bad water. When lead is in the drinking water, people’s brains are damaged. Some people suffered a higher risk of cancer because a shoe making company dumped on the ground chemicals which were used to treat leather. Governments spend great amounts of money to provide clean water, and companies which pollute water are fined. Clean water is very important.
Those of you who like geography and studying maps might want to notice how many cities are found by sources of fresh water. We see that here in our own community. Grand Rapids is located on a bend in the Grand River. Muskegon, Grand Haven and Holland are all found where rivers empty into Lake Michigan. The availability of water also shaped our nation’s history. Much of our population is east of the Mississippi River where there are more rivers. The western part of the Great Plains does not have as many cities because there isn’t as much water readily available. Again, people need water.
Plants also need water in the right amount. When we have a hot summer and a few weeks of no rain, lawns are parched and brown. A brown lawn is not a big deal to us, but think of the farmer who needs a harvest so he can provide for the needs of a family. Some crops need plenty of water, and some need just a little. Farmers decide what crops to grow based upon how much rain their area usually receives.
Earthly water is so important to life, God uses it to teach us a spiritual lesson. Just as our bodies need water, our souls need spiritual water. Spiritual water is the Word of God. We must drink enough water so we don’t suffer dehydration, and we need spiritual water to avoid spiritual dehydration. How are we going to have a healthy knowledge of God, the way of salvation and the way of thankful living if we do not read the Bible or go to church? We must drink God’s Word.
The spiritual water we drink must be good, clean water. We do not drink polluted water because it does our bodies harm. When God’s word of grace is polluted with Arminianism, it does our souls harm. If we believe we must contribute some of our works, even in the smallest way, to our salvation, we steal glory from God. All the glory of salvation must go to Him. When we drink freely from a clean source of water, we enjoy a major benefit to our physical health. When we read God’s Word and hear the pure preaching of the gospel, our spiritual lives thrive and all glory is given to God.
When we read the Bible and hear good preaching, we learn that we are to fear the Lord. The fear of the Lord means we have great respect and reverent awe for God. God has been so gracious to us and given us so many blessings, we fear to offend Him. It is foolish to offend a person who has done so much for you, but it’s even worse to offend such a gracious God.
There is also a fear of the Lord which involves some fright. God is very strong. He can bring what we call evil into our lives. God is perfectly righteous. He is very angry with sin. Yes, Christ suffered the punishment for our sins and paid for all of them. However, God will make us suffer the consequences of our sins, not as a punishment or payment for our sins, but so we do not live a careless life of worldliness. God chastises us for our disobedience to bring us back to the way of His law.
We live in a very casual age. The fashion in which people dress gives evidence of this. Personal relationships and the manner we speak with friends is also very casual. This casual aspect of our society is also seen in that people do not worry about the results of their actions. Even our justice system gives sentences which are quite minimal, unless one is guilty of crimes which have attracted a great amount of public attention. Quite often, not much seems to happen to criminals. The world, then, believing that God is similar to themselves, also believes they can live in whatever way they please, and either God will not notice because He is far away, or that He will not punish them for their sins because God has changed. He is no longer the Old Testament God of vengeance. After all, He has not rained fire and brimstone on any cities for a long time. The claim today is that God is love, so now He loves everybody just the way they are. Actions are believed to have no consequences. to be continued …