Imagine in your travels one day you come across a man, lying in his yard near the road. He is lying in filth and appears weak and sick. Your heart is moved and you go to him. As you draw near you notice the smell, the odor of unwashed clothes mixed with the stench of sickness.
Upon inquiring you learn that he is indeed sick, sick and dehydrated. He has no clean water, barely any water at all. He has been living on what he can collect in a few pots and tubs he has set around him and, when needed, on the water in a few brackish puddles nearby.
You begin looking around to see how you might help him, and then you notice, right there in his yard, a well. It looks to be in working order, but you assume, given the man’s condition and desperation, that it must have gone dry. Or perhaps it has been tainted and is no longer useable. But you lower the bucket and when you raise it it comes up sloshing with sparkling, clear water. When you ask him about it, he tells you the well is indeed in perfect order and the water is clean and good. The well was a gift given to him by a man he met years ago. The man called the well Salvation.
You look from the desperate man to the well and back to the man again. Then you look at the containers with traces of foul water he has gathered around him and wonder what he has been doing. Why has he been barely living on this pitiful supply of foul water when he owns a clean well? You finally can hold your tongue no longer and ask him why he doesn’t just draw water from the well. Why doesn’t he use it to drink and to clean himself and wash his clothes and prepare his food. To your surprise he tells you that he will use this gift; he’ll use it at the end of his life. When it is time for him to die, he will put this well to use. It is called Salvation because it will save him from death. You can restrain yourself no longer. You cry out to the man that his friend intended so much more. When he gave this man this well called Salvation, he didn’t intend for it only to save him from death; he intended it to give him life. It wasn’t only for the end of the man’s life. It was for every day, every moment of every day.
The man looks at you curiously and allows you to help him toward the well. You draw a bucket and he begins to drink, slowly at first but then gulping, taking in drink after drink, sloshing it all down the front of his tattered clothes. Then he starts to draw from it himself, one bucket at first. Carefully tipping the bucket, he drinks deeply and finds himself refreshed as he has not been before. He hauls up more and fills a tub and begins washing in it. He feels himself cleansed and so refreshed. Strength begins to return to him. As he draws one bucketful after another, joy floods his heart and his face beams. He begins to scurry around his yard watering little flowers struggling to survive in the neglected beds. Some of it, he just pours over his head, laughing in sheer delight. All the while he’s saying, “I didn’t know. I never knew it was available. I didn’t know it was for me to use now. I didn’t know there was so much in it. And I didn’t know it was so good.”
Nice, little story, huh? Kind of silly. Not very realistic. But, you know something? It’s the story of too many Christians, perhaps of all of us from time to time. We’re often found sitting beside a beautiful well of salvation but living on so little, on what we can collect and scrape together on our own. We are sitting beside abundant waters and aching with thirst. Or we may not even realize our longing; we’ve become accustomed to our thirst.
In my Bible reading one day this week, I ran across this passage from Isaiah, Chapter 12:
In that day you will say:
“‘Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.’
3 With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.
4 In that day you will say:
‘Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.'”
When we accepted Christ’s offer and received his atonement for our sin, we were given salvation. It was accomplished on the cross and offered to us when we heard the Good News. It became ours when we received it. And, although it won’t be complete in all its fullness until we are with Him in eternity, it is ours now. As this scripture states, “The Lord. . . has become my salvation.” If you are in Christ, he has become your salvation.
Salvation is something you already have!
Often we see this gift of salvation as a rather one-dimensional, flat, inert thing, something for the end of life. We see it very much as a ticket to heaven, a “Get out of Jail Free” card. Something we received on the day we accepted Jesus as our Savior that we will carry in our wallet for the day we die and need to show it at the pearly gates.
But in this passage we are given the image of a “well of salvation.”. This gift of salvation is not meant to be something held in security until the day of our death. It is a well of fresh, beautiful, clear, life-giving water.
We are invited to draw from it!
For what reasons might a person draw water from a well? Obviously, the first thought that comes to mind is to drink. Water refreshes and sustains life, and good water gives health. We might also draw water for bathing, to cleanse ourselves. Another reason we draw water is to use it on seeds and plants in our care, that the seeds may grow and the plants bear fruit. You see,
a well offers provision for us and allows us to offer life to others.
Friends, do you know what God has provided for us in this Well of Salvation he gave us? He has given us salvation, yes, and entrance into heaven when that day comes.
But he has given us so much more!
This well called Salvation also offers us:
Friendship with God
Position in His Family as His Children
Forgiveness For and Cleansing From All Our Sins
His Compassion and Tenderness toward Us
Provision for All Our Needs
Satisfaction for our Heart’s Deepest Desires
Love. Never-ending, Unconditional Love
(And more that I haven’t even discovered yet!)
Brothers and sisters, our Father gave us all that.
He didn’t give us merely a bucket of water; He gave us a well!
And it isn’t a limited supply; it’s a deep well, tapped into the water table of His infinite love and provision. He gave us a limitless, continually-renewing well of his grace. Use it! Draw from it! Delight in it! Drink deeply! Splash in it! Pour it lavishly on yourself! And offer it around to anyone who is thirsty. And do this all with great joy.
Give praise to the Lord. Make known among the nations what he has done. Proclaim that his name is exalted.
And joyfully draw water
beautiful, pure, abundant, life-giving water
from the well of salvation!