Water is water, wherever it is found; but there is a great difference between water which is drawn from the fountain, and water dipped from a stagnant pool. The one refreshes, the other nauseates; the one is life giving, the other brings poison and death.
The Word of God is a fountain of living water, but how often this water becomes stale, adulterated, and defiled, in passing through the various channels of fallen humanity. There are sermons which have many of the thoughts of man, and few of the thoughts of God. Multitudes of men content themselves with a second-hand gospel, which is stale, flat and unprofitable. They do not search the Scriptures, they do not study the living Word, but they depend on commentaries, sermons, interpretations and misquotations, and thus are led into gross errors, and are deprived of the freshness and vitality which resides in that Word which liveth and abideth forever. The Word of God is living and powerful. We are to be cleansed "by the washing of water by the Word;" but that water must be living water. No stagnant pool of human tradition, no turbid current of doctrinal controversy, can refresh and cleanse the souls that thirst and pant for the living streams which flow from the throne.
Those who would have living water must learn the way to the living fountainthe Word of God itself. A writer tells of two wells of the Doge of Venice: the water of one of them is brought in barges from a distance, and few care to taste the insipid draught; the other is a delicious natural well, cool and refreshing, and the people strive to obtain water from this fountain.
Ministers of the gospel, who long to be of use in this world, must not content themselves with being mere sponges to absorb and then give out the thoughts and ideas of others; they must, on the contrary, draw water for themselves out of the wells of salvation, and know the virtue of those streams that make glad the city of our God. Let us turn away from the turbid waters which men have fouled and defiled, and let us learn to drink from the living fountain, that which shall be in us a well of water springing up into everlasting life.Sel.