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which should gladden the desert, were all predictive allusions to the blessings which this same Jesus Christ was destined to impart.
And to whom were these blessings to be imparted ?-Here again the answer is obvious. It may be found without research, and understood without difficulty. The blessings are offered to all mankind; there is no exception-no reserve.
that Christ has
any man thirst, he may go to this fountain and drink. If any man thirst—that is, if any man feel his need of the spiritual graces and succours which are to be obtained from and through Christ; he has only to apply in the manner directed, and he shall receive them. What, may the poor come? Yes! and he shall obtain that wealth which is more precious than thousands of gold and silver-a treasure for which a man might well sell all that he hath and which is not only more valuable but more secure than any other; for it is laid up in that place "where neither moth, nor rust, doth corrupt, and
where thieves do not break through nor steal1."
May the ignorant come? Yes! And he shall obtain that knowledge, compared to which all the wisdom of the world is foolishness the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and him crucified-that wisdom which is more precious than silver, and the merchandise of it than fine gold, the wisdom that maketh wise unto salvation.
May the sinner come?-Why need we pause for an answer? Yes! if it be his wish to continue a sinner no longer. This is the very person for whom the fountain was opened-this is he whom the physician came to heal. If he thirst-if he feel that burning desire of relief, by which he, above all others, should be actuated: let him drink of the waters which Christ will give him, (waters mingled with his own precious blood,) and he shall thirst no more a voice shall whisper while he drinks, "Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee"."-If no sinner be al
1 Matt. vi. 19.
2 Matt. ix. 2.
lowed to approach the well of life, my brethren, where is the man among us that shall venture to draw nigh to it?
I have spoken thus briefly of the person by whom and the persons to whom the promise of the text is addressed, that we might have more time left for considering the nature of it. To exemplify this we cannot do better than follow up the figure employed by our Lord, observing the peculiar force which it derives, from the peculiar character of the country and climate in which it was spoken. To an inhabitant of Palestine it must have conveyed many an import, and suggested many a reflection which will escape us, unless we view it closely, and so far as may be, with his eyes.
In the first place, a dweller in Judea, or the region round about, would have thought it no small thing that Jesus talked of giving this water. In a country in which no rain falls from April to September, which has but one river, and the greater part of whose brooks are dried up during the hot seasons, nothing,
it is quite clear, can be much more valuable than water. Accordingly, the wells and fountains which are formed for the supply or preservation of this indispensable requisite, are objects of jealous care. Sometimes they were closed over, and secured by a lock at others they were guarded by armed men, who exacted a certain payment from those who needed refreshment from them--frequently they were the occasion of contention and strife, and a draught of water could only be purchased by blood and life itself was to be risked, in order to obtain that without which life could not be supported.
Where water then was so scarce, so valuable, and so hard to be obtained, it must have appeared no slight thing when Christ talked of giving it freely, and that in such abundant quantities as to remove all dread of thirst for ever. And by this significant and forcible image does Jesus desire to impress upon us the value of the gift of the Gospel. Do we accustom ourselves to look upon it in this light?
Do we ever, or I would say, do we habitually reflect, that a blessing for which if it had been purchaseable at all, not all our possessions, nor every drop of our blood would have been too much to pay -do we reflect that this has been freely and voluntarily given to us? There are some who look upon the Gospel as a burden imposed upon them-there are others who consider it a privilege they must purchase. Are there many who persevere always-even when its demands are the most pressing, its requirements the most severe: when it asks, perchance, a right hand or right eye? Are there many who even then persevere in regarding it as a gift? A gift accompanied by conditions certainly: but conditions founded on eternal truth and justice, and full of mercy and love. Let me leave this to you, my brethren, as a subject for serious meditation.
We will turn to another particular. Christ says, that "the water that he shall give a man shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." The