Isaiah foresaw a day when the Lord God would “extend His hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of His people” (Isa. 11:11). A day when those who had largely missed the first coming of Messiah would now recognize the “Shoot from the stump of Jesse,” a Branch from Jesse’s roots that would “bear fruit” (11:1). And in that day, says the prophet, they would give thanks . . . they would know the God of their salvation . . . they would believe to the driving out of all fear . . . and they would have access to wells of salvation.
You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to You, O LORD, for though You were angry with me, Your anger turned away, that You might comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:1-3 ESV)
And as I noodle on the truth of this revelation concerning a day to come, I can’t help but be reminded that, as the church, we’re the prototype. “That day” for this future gathered remnant, is reflective, or should be, of “this day” for the present day household of God.
We should be giving thanks as we are reminded that, at one time, we were enemies (Rom. 5:10; 8:7) of God, enslaved by sin and thus, objects of wrath (Eph. 2:1-3), but now God’s anger was been turned away.
Only God can avert God’s anger. Nothing I could ever do would have demanded a holy and just God to “turn back” His anger. That’s what the word literally means, God turned back His anger. Not just deflected it from falling upon me, but turned it back on Himself as He Himself, through the finished work of His blessed Son on the cross, took upon Himself the anger that was due to me. Jesus bore the penalty of my sin . . . He took upon Himself the wrath of a holy God which my transgression deserved . . . and, in doing so, the angry was turned away. And so, “I will give thanks to You, O LORD!”
God having become our salvation . . . knowing the LORD God as our strength . . . having Him as the song upon our lips . . . also leads us to do something that Isaiah says will be true of that future remnant of Jacob’s tribes. The people of God should be drawing water from the wells of salvation.
Salvation isn’t just a prayer to be prayed so that you can “check the box” and reserve your ticket for heaven. Salvation isn’t something that happened in our past and now we get on with “real life.” Rather salvation is a living water to be drawn upon from fountains that never run dry, from springs that always run fresh. The wells of salvation gush forth the living water Jesus spoke of with the Samaritan woman (John 4:10). “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). Water welling up to eternal life, that’s eternal life now . . . sufficient for the day . . . with renewing power for tomorrow.
And I fear that so often the reason we fail to dip our cups frequently into the wells of salvation is that we have come to rely on other sources of “water.” Cisterns, Jeremiah says, that we have hewed out for ourselves (Jer. 2:13). Broken cisterns which “can hold no water” but only some cheap substitute that can never satisfy our thirst or rejuvenate our inner spirit.
The other thing that grabs me as I hover over this verse, is that I am to draw from the wells of salvation with joy. O’ the tragedy of joyless saints. It is the enemy’s victory . . . it is the old nature waging war with the Spirit . . . when our salvation becomes but a secondary endurance rather than our primary source of joy. Instead, as we reflect on the grace and glory of our salvation it should evoke depths of inner joy . . . and that joy should, in turn, compel us to go back to the well and draw afresh of salvation’s living water . . . which will then fuel our joy . . . which then draws us again to the well . . . thus creating this eternal perpetual cycle.
Oh, that we as God’s people would know the rhythm of joyfully drawing water from the wells of salvation. That, when the rhythm is disrupted by the cares of this life, His Spirit would so increase our thirst for real living water that we would be drawn again into the rhythm.
A rhythm of joy made possible by grace . . . a rhythm of drinking deep for God’s glory.