Here is a joyous song of praise to be sung “in that day.” In what day? No doubt it will be sung on that day of Christ’s glorious rest, when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, and when the root of Jesse shall gather all of His people – Jews and Gentiles alike – to Himself. But Isaiah, in chapter 2, closely connects this glory – and all of the blessed results to which it will lead – with the first coming of Christ. Therefore, although the day which is here spoken of will not reach its noontide until Christ’s second coming, yet it certainly dawned at His first appearing. And since we are now living in that Gospel-day, we may adopt this song and sing it now!
This song is a thanksgiving for all of the blessings which Jesus’ salvation brings. Verse 3 immediately reminds us of the words of our Savior in John 4: “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.” “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink!” (John 7:37) “Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely!” (Rev. 22:17) Can any expression give a more vivid idea of the large supplies of blessing which Christ gives, and of His entire willingness that sinners should come and receive them? Did anyone ever go to Jesus and find no water, and return with his vessel empty? Look at this beautiful picture of joyful drawing of water from the wells of salvation, which are so abundant that anyone and everyone may come; and then contrast that picture with such difficulties as the young Midianite girls had to encounter when rival shepherds drove them away, in Exodus 2:16-17. In that particular situation, Moses – as a picture of Christ – stood up and helped them, and watered their flocks!
There is joy in drawing the water of life, because the water is sure to come! The labor will not be lost. “Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord” (Ps. 105:3). “I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain” (Is. 45:19). It is a joy to the weary believer – who is covered with the dust of the world, and exhausted with his toil – to drop Faith’s pitcher into the well at evening-tide, and draw forth grace to cleanse his pollution and renew his strength. And it is very joyful when a whole group of God’s children meet at the well, strengthen each other’s hands, and join together to draw this water!
The blessings that are drawn from these “wells of salvation” are mentioned in this song of praise. First, there is forgiveness (verse 1). God’s anger is turned away. There is no condemnation, as Paul says (Rom. 8:1); and therefore, there is no fear. Then there is also comfort from God. Paul speaks (2 Cor. 1:3-4) of the Lord as “the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” Christ says, “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.” “I will send the Comforter unto you” (John 14:18; 16:7). And then, in addition to forgiveness and comfort, we have Jehovah Himself as our portion: “God is my salvation; God is my strength; God is my song!” To have salvation, strength, and joy sent to us from the Lord is a great matter indeed. But how much better is it when He Himself is our salvation, our strength, and our song! “If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth” (Rom. 8:31, 33). Let the sad and downcast soul, and the tried and tempted believer, dwell upon these thoughts!
The expressions of praise in verses 4 and 5 are very triumphant, and only bright and strong faith can use such expressions here on earth. In a world so full of sin and sorrow – in which there seems to be so much confusion, and in which God’s Providences continually appear so dark – it is not easy to say, “He hath done excellent things!” As the chariot of God’s Providence rolls by, the dust raised by its wheels darkens our view, and we cannot perceive the wisdom which guides its course. When Job was in the midst of all his troubles, how unable were he and his friends to judge rightly of the Lord’s purposes in them! We can now view them as being among the excellent things of God’s doing, because we can look back and see the outcome of his case; but in the end, he found “that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:11).
In that great day of which Isaiah prophesies – when Christ shall reign over all His redeemed people – then we shall perceive what all of His dealings in our present history have been leading up to. We shall see that the perplexities and sorrows of life, and those things which we have called miseries and calamities, have all brought blessings with them. And we shall praise God for every one of them! In the meantime, Faith – which is “the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1) – looks forward to the period when all shall be revealed and explained (1 Cor. 13:12). And while we are still here on earth – trusting God, and giving Him credit for doing excellent things – Faith sings a song of praise to Him even now!
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for being the well of living water that is easily accessible, which satisfies the spiritual thirst of any and all who come to You! Amen.
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painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1897 | Wikimedia Commons