Fountain and river

When the Samaritan woman gave the Lord water from Jacob’s well, he offers her water from a fountain. This passage does not refer to a natural fountain, that is clear, but to a fountain of living water. “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). The word “fountain”, that can be understood as “washbasin”, can be better translated as “spring”; and instead of saying “springing up” it could be translated as “gushing out” . It is a spring of living water gushing out, which the woman will have in her heart.

The well waits for you to go and take out what you need; but a spring is self-sufficient. And this spring is even more precious, for it provides the provision from the inside, without you having to go out and look for it someplace else.

The fountain or spring talks to us about a permanent provision, and even more so, about the water that will gush from inside of us, therefore, it is flowing water, not stagnant. It is purer then the water from a well; it is transparent and clear.

Nevertheless, the figure of water does not end there. Later in John’s gospel we find a river. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (7:38). It is a continuation of the living water teaching. There it is a spring and here it is a river.

The river surges in a spring, but it is more than a spring. It is the channel that advances, vivifying, blessing many at every step. And this water, first in the fountain and now in the river, is the Holy Spirit. The Lord tells us, “But this he spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive” (v. 39). It is the Holy Spirit, not outside of us, but inside of us.

This Spirit is fountain and river. Fountain, because it provides the provision, and river, because it flows to bless others. It is fountain, because it does not stop supplying us, and it is river, because it does not stop blessing others.

In the book of Revelations the fountain and the river appear again. The fountain in chapter 21, and the river in chapter 22. The Lord invites: “I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts” (21:6). And the river, is in the New Jerusalem. In fact, there is a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. This river surrounds the tree of life, that bores twelve fruits, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. The river of God is the one that vivifies the tree. It is the same river of God, that vivifies today, and that will keep vivifying us for all eternity.

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