The Fountain of Truth

by Mike Ratliff

13 “For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns-broken cisterns that can hold no water.

In John Bunyan’s classic The Pilgrim’s Progress, we learn of the vast difference between worldly wisdom and the truth through a character named Mr. Worldly Wisdom. Pilgrim is on his way to the little wicket gate as instructed by Evangelist when he meets up with this character. He tells Pilgrim that the truth that the Evangelist told him would only bring sorrow and grief to his life. If he would follow his advice instead then he would find that his life would go much easier. In our time, the Church has believed this lie and focused on the temporal more than the eternal. This has come from drinking from broken cisterns instead of the fountain of living waters.

In an address to the International Convention of Young Men’s Christian Associations at Cleveland, Ohio on May 25, 1881, John A. Broadus spoke on the great value of reading the Bible book by book rather than in small bits. He said:

The main support of all individual Christian life, the main-spring of all Christian work, must be the truth of God. Truth is the life-blood of piety. Truth is always more potent and more precious when we draw it ourselves out of the Bible. I rode out yesterday afternoon with a kind friend among the glories of the famous avenue of Cleveland, and then away into the beautiful country region which they hope is to be Cleveland Park some day, until we passed presently a little fountain where the water, coming fresh, and sweet and bright, was bursting from the hillside. The water we drink in the houses from the lake is delightful, but there it was a fountain. There is nothing like drinking water out of the fountain. And I remembered what my Lord Bacon has said: “Truth from any other source is like water from a cistern; but truth drawn out of the Bible is like drinking water from a fountain, immediately where it springeth.” Ah, this Christian work we have to-day in the world will be wise and strong and mighty just in proportion, other things being equal, as it is directed and controlled and inspired by what we draw ourselves out of the Word of God!

Spiritual shallowness and temporal focus come in proportion to a lack of drinking from the fountain of living waters. Studying the Bible is work, but if we do so directed by the Holy Spirit, we will find sustenance to live this life now, eternally focused and for God’s glory alone. Therefore, I pray that all reading this will dedicate themselves anew to drinking directly from the fountain while rejecting in full, broken cisterns which hold worldly wisdom, but no living water.

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19 thoughts on “The Fountain of Truth

  1. Yes and amen. Spurgeon said that when we get to the gate of heaven and lay our eyes upon the Savior for the very first time we will consider ourselves a thousand fools for ever desiring anything of the world.

    Yes, Mike, every earthly thought, every scrap of worldy wisdom, all human morality, and most pronounced all departures from Jesus and His Word are broken cisterns that not only leak, they leak poison.

    And today we see some of God’s professing children lapping it up. Let us forever cling to the cross and its shame while the world enjoys its moment in the sun before the coming moment before the Son.

  2. Mike,

    but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. John 4: 14


    I was just reading this beautiful passage earlier today. It does sound even more beautiful when you read it yourself out of His word. It’s like rediscovering a treasure.


  3. Studying the Bible is work, but if we do so directed by the Holy Spirit, we will find sustenance to live this life now, eternally focused and for God’s glory alone.

    Your point here is so critical that I decided to re-emphasize it in my comment, Mike.

    In reading your post I’m reminded of our Lord’s encounter with the unbelief of Nicodemus. Nicodemus was identified by Christ as “the teacher of Israel”, yet his understanding of scripture was completely perverted by his false religious system of salvation by works. He either utterly failed to grasp the very clear OT references to water and the Spirit used by the Lord Jesus in His demand for rebirth (spiritual renewal), or else Nicodemus was so enamored and married to his corrupt system of religious works that he was unable or unwilling (at least at that point in time) to submit to the Lord’s demands that he abandon his false beliefs about the nature of salvation.

    Too many professing Christians today are caught up in a web of deceit just as entangling as that of the Pharisees; namely easy-believism. These false converts and false teachers believe that spouting a few Biblical platitudes, reading a few Bible verses, or having said “the sinner’s prayer” is tantamount to saving faith in Christ. They literally couldn’t be further from the truth.

    In today’s climate of institutionalized evangelical faithlessness any sort of seeming acquiescence to anything remotely resembling Christianity is taken as prima facie evidence of saving faith, yet the Bible says even the demons have this sort of faith and tremble!

    It doesn’t take a super-spiritual theological heavyweight to realize that God is calling His people to brokenness, repentance and personal holiness in the midst of this present darkness.

    May we who are called by His Holy Name continue steadfastly in His Word and boldly proclaim His truth with full assurance that every spirit that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ is the spirit of anti-Christ.

  4. True very true, but also very true is that it is only through the Holy Spirit that one can actually drink from the fountain, otherwise, one is only playing in the water. I pray God softens my heart each day to the working of the Holy Spirit in His teaching of His Word!

  5. That’s a really good post Mike, and I think it points out that genuine Christian faith must be somewhere in the middle of the two. Either extreme would be faithlessness. Which reminds me of Prov 4:27 “Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.” So balance is the important thing.

  6. Amen brother Mike,
    God’s word is absolutely amazing. When the Lord woke me up in January, I humbly asked Him to give me a hunger for His word. Up until that point I could barely make it through a chapter let alone a book of the Bible. Since then I have been in His precious word every single day. God’s word is so powerful, once I got into His word, television, secular music, movies, sports all fell away. What used to be recreation time for me is now graciously filled with His word and prayer. While I used to drink as much alcohol as I could before I slept for the night, I now to try to drink as much of His living water as I can and often sacrifice sleep to do it. What a mighty God we serve! All glory, honor, praise and thanksgiving be given to God our father and Jesus Christ our Lord!!!

    In Christ,

  7. Derrick,

    I rejoice with you that God has drawn you from darkness to light! Amen brother! Stay immersed in His Word and you will find that God is going to use you in ways that you never dreamed of. It will be for His glory and you will find that you will never be the same again. Of course, you are already finding that out brother!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  8. Derrick,

    Praise God! What a great testimony of the power of our Lord and Saviour! He is just amazing !

    In Christ’s love


  9. Mike,
    God uses people like you to expound on the word. In line with Galatians 6:6 I thank the Lord for using an elder in Christ like you to give me insight into His word.
    I know all thanks be given to our Lord, but I want you to know that I thank the Lord for the work you do for Him. Keep fighting the good fight brother!

    In Christ,

  10. Mike
    One of my greatest griefs is the lack of sanctification among believers. Scripture alone is the means of progressive holiness. How sad it is that so few will study it. As a Bible teacher it both frustrates and grieves me that while many will gather to “study”–which actually means to discuss, share ideas, converse etc.–books by human authors, few–and very few at that–will gather to study the very Word of God. Thanks for the article. Wendy

  11. Wendy,

    This why I don’t quote a lot of writers or theologians from our era. There are some to be sure, but I have found that those from prior to 1950 or so are Biblically bound while those after, for the most part, are bound to worldly wisdom with a little Bible sprinkled in for good measure. There are exceptions, but why not go to the source? I believe a love for God’s Word is one of the markers of genuineness.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  12. Wendy,

    John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

    You are right, we lambs must be in the Word to be sanctified. Look at Derrick! What a precious testimony and not unlike many of us here including myself! When I see a site like Mikes, I am joyful because I see more scripture being quoted then words of men. I thank God for His provision to meet with fellow believers (in this crazy time we live in) on the internet! Our God is so good. He always provides. Amen.

    Love in Christ,

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