A. R. Wright

A little boy, very fond of riddles, ran to a gentleman one day and said, “Have you heard the story of the three wells?” The gentleman replied that he had not, whereupon the boy said, “Well! Well! Well!”, and seemed very pleased with himself. That was the beginning and end of the story.

 Well, I am sure you boys and girls have all heard or read stories about wells. You know the nursery rhyme about the pussy cat being in the well. Some of you perhaps have read Aesop’s Fable of the fox and the bear, the fox tricking the bear to go down a well for a big piece of cheese, which was really just the reflection of the moon. Others may have read the odd story told by the Dormouse to Alice in Wonderland. “Once upon a time there were three little sisters, and their names were Elsie, Lacie and Tillie, and they lived at the bottom of a well. Coming to reality, I hope you young people will one day read the life story of John G. Paton, the famous missionary. It is a real thriller, and one of the most interesting passages is that which deals with the sinking[1] of a well. The natives were amazed to see water coming up from below. The best stories about wells, however, are found in the Bible. Hagar saw a well when God opened her eyes. Rebekah drew water at a well. David longed for a drink from the well at Bethlehem. Our Lord himself sat on a well and dealt with a seeking soul. The Bible not only gives us stories about wells, it is also a well itself. And what a wonderful well it is!

Dr. Newton in his “Bible Blessings” tells the story of a lady traveller who stopped for a few days at a little village among the beautiful mountains in Wales. The people in the village had to bring all their water from a well in the centre of the village. One day this lady met a little girl returning from the well with a pail of water in her hand. She said to her, “I see a great many people going to that well for water my little girl. Does the well ever run dry?” “Oh yes ma’am, very often in hot weather.” “And where do you go for water then?” “We go to the spring a little way out of town.” “But what do you do if that dries up?” “Then we go to the spring far up on the side of the mountain- that is the best water of all.” “And what do you do if that dries up?” “Oh ma’am, that spring is the same winter and summer. It never dries up!”

And the Bible is a well which never dries up, a well with abundant provision for thirsty souls.

We might speak of it as:

A Well of English

This is the phrase of the poet Chaucer. He describes the Bible as “the well of English undefiled”, and the description is certainly true. One of the most important subjects to study is English, and if you young people wish to be proficient in this subject you should study the English Bible, the master piece of English literature, and the source of what is best in our English literature. Many experts, Christian and non-Christian, have testified to the Bible’s literary beauty. Take a few illustrations. Lord Macaulay- “That stupendous work the English Bible, a book which, if everything else in our language should perish, would alone suffice to show the whole extent of its beauty and power.” J. R. Green- “The English version of the Bible remains the noblest example of the English tongue, the standard of our language.” John Ruskin- “My mother forced me, by steady daily toil, to learn long chapters of the Bible by heart. To that I owe not only a knowledge of the book, but …the best part of my taste in literature.” G. K. Chesterton- “The English of the English Bible is not merely splendid about splendid things, it is splendid about everything.” Thomas Huxley- “The Bible is written in the noblest and purest English and abounds in exquisite beauties of mere literary form.”

Yes, the Bible is certainly a well of English. It is written in the best English style- simple, majestic, even sublime. It embodies the best poetry and the best prose, the best stories, the best character studies, the best drama.

A Well of Truth

The poet Shelley once said to a friend, “I always like to reach the bottom of the well. Truth lies there.” Now, the Bible is a well of Truth, and there is not only Truth at the bottom of the well. There is also truth at the top, yes, and truth in between. “Sanctify them through thy truth”, says Christ, “Thy word is truth.”[2] The Bible is God’s word to Man. And the Bible, as are archaeologists have helped to demonstrate, is true. It gives us the truth regarding the things that matter most. It answers such important questions as, “Where have I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going?” It is all important that you boys and girls get the truth in the days of your youth, and you will get it by studying the Bible. There you will find the truth about God and about yourselves. There you will see your need.

A Well of Salvation

 This is the most important point of all. Chrysostom, one of the early Christian fathers, said on one occasion, “The Bible is the fountain for watering the soul.” It is a well which provides the water of the Father’s love, the Son’s merit, and the Spirit’s grace. In short, all that is needed for the sinner’s salvation.

The Bible is a well which cleanses. We all know how ordinary water cleanses the body, and the water of the Word can cleanse the mind and soul (Psalm 119:9, Ephesians 5:26). The story is told of an Arab Chieftain who once said, “My son, hasten to the spring and bring me a basket of water”. The boy went but always, before he got back, the water had leaked out. At last he came to his father and said, “Although I repeatedly filled the basket, the water would not stay”. Then the father taking the basket replied, “My son, what you say is true. The water did not stay. But see how clean and pure is the basket. So it will be with your heart. You may not be able to remember all the precepts you hear, but keep trying to treasure them. They will make your heart pure and fit for Heavenly uses”. How true this is of the water of the Word! The word read or heard may at times leak out and be forgotten, but it does its work of cleansing.

The Bible is also a well which satisfies. We know how a cup of cold water satisfies our physical thirst. The water of the Word satisfies the spiritual thirst of sinner and saint. A dying soldier said to his friend, “Comrade, give me a drop”. His friend shook up the canteen and said, “There isn’t a drop of water in it”. “Oh”, said the dying soldier, “that is not what I want. Feel in my knapsack for my Bible”. His friend found the Bible, and read him a few of the gracious promises, and the dying soldier said, “That’s what I want. There isn’t anything like the Bible for a dying soldier is there my friend?” And today the Bible satisfies our thirsty souls; satisfies them while we live; and satisfies them when we come to die.

Let us each one resolve then that we will draw water daily from this great well. Let us read the Bible and so improve our English. Let us search the Scriptures and so learn the truth. Let us study God’s word and so become wise unto salvation.

[1] Or, “digging”.

[2] John 17:17

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