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Fresh Water: Spring Up, O Well of the Spirit

Fresh Water: Spring Up, O Well of the Spirit

Fresh Water: Spring Up, O Well of the Spirit!

“Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them: ‘Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!’”  (Acts 15:20-21).

Prophetess. Miriam is the first woman in the Hebrew Bible to be called a prophetess (Ex. 15:20). She is prominent in Jewish history, and is on the short list of the seven special women in the Jewish faith who were called prophetesses. These women are the “Holy Women to Israel”: Sarah (Genesis), Miriam (Exodus, Numbers), Deborah (Judges), Hannah (1 Samuel), Abigail (1 Samuel 25), Huldah (2 Kings), and Esther. The designated prophet in Jewish circles, whether male or female, held a unique place in the Scriptures. Prophets and prophetesses were able to receive divine revelations from the Lord regarding the future as well as the present. The prophet would speak what was on God’s mind. Prophets were also held up as role models of sanctity and intimacy with God. They set the community standards for religious faith and behavior. Rabbinic tradition holds that Miriam was at first considered a prophet because she had prophesied to her parents that they would bear the person who would deliver the Israelites from bondage. The fact that both mother and sister went to such extraordinary measures to take care of Moses suggests that they knew Moses was going to be unique, with a singular role as savior and deliverer of his people. The other reason Miriam was called a prophetess in Scripture is that she was described that way in direct connection to her role as worship leader in song at the Red Sea. Music and prophecy have always had a unique bond regarding the Lord’s revelations.

“Then the children of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the Wilderness of Zin, and the people stayed in Kadesh. Miriam died there and was buried there. Now there was no water for the congregation, so they gathered against Moses and Aaron.” (Numbers 20:1-2).

Miriam as Praise Leader.  There are two rabbinic traditions regarding Miriam during the wilderness journey. One tradition maintains that, because of Miriam’s righteousness, and so due to her merit, a miraculous well accompanied the wanderers all the while she lived in order to provide water for drinking. Thus when she died, this well dried up (Numbers 20:1-2). The other tradition is that Miriam’s role during that long journey was to lead the people in praise, just as she did during that victorious Song of Moses at the Red Sea. Like an active fountain of water itself, she was a continual source of refreshing praise. So when Miriam died, no one was there to lead the people in praise to God. When Miriam died, her well of praise died with her. Tradition states that Miriam died at the age of 126, a year before the Israelites entered the Promised Land.

“From there they went to Beer, which means the Well, where Yahweh had said to Moses, ‘Gather the people together, and I will give them water.’ On that occasion Israel sang this song: ‘Spring up, O well! Sing its praises! Sing of this well which the leaders dug out, which was hollowed out by the nation’s nobles with their royal scepters and staffs!’” (Numbers 21:16-17).

I’ve Got a River of Life Jeremy Riddle & Bethel Church January 15, 2012 (youtube.com)

The Song of the Well. The wandering Israelites were once again facing a shortage of water in the sweltering heat of the Sinai desert. Naturally, and rather reasonably, Moses and Aaron soon heard their grumbles and complaints. They arrived at a place called “The Well,” which is “Beer” in Hebrew. Evidently, they had been there at some point earlier, because Yahweh directed them to a well that had already been dug by the leaders of Israel. The people were so grateful and relieved to have the prospect of a flourishing well right there with them that they exuberantly greeted it with a song. They encouraged each other to break out into an historic song of praise and thanksgiving and gratitude. For, they were weary and dehydrated and discouraged, and Yahweh couldn’t have given them a better or a more timely gift. It’s not clear if the people rejoiced in anticipation of the water bursting forth from the well, or while it was actually gushing water to the surface, or perhaps even after the water had already poured forth. This Song of the Well could have been sung in celebration before, during, or after the water burst forth. Maybe the Song was sung that whole time during all three phases of the celebration.

The Song. This song has gone down in Jewish history as one of the most famous songs in their entire history. It was evidently already well known before this scene with Moses in the wilderness. It has been dated by historians as present from the earliest of times. It was routinely sung for a long time by the “maidens of Israel” as a routine water-drawing song. And, it was sung for centuries in the Jerusalem Temple as a regular part of the Sabbath worship. The Hebrew word used for the more common translation of “spring up” was  “ali,” which means ascend or go up. So other ways to voice this song would be… Erupt, O well! Sing praises about this well! Flow upwards, O well, and we’ll sing in celebration! Come up, O water-spring! Let the well gush forth! Pour out your water, O well, and we will sing all about it!

Could there be a better picture of the Holy Spirit, the Lord’s River of Life?

I’VE GOT A RIVER OF LIFE (SPRING UP O WELL) (youtube.com)

“Come!” say the Spirit and the Bride. Whoever hears, echo, “Come!” Is anyone thirsty? Come! All who will, come and drink, drink freely of the Water of Life! (Revelation 22:17, MSG).

Revelation 22 – Come, Lord Jesus || Bible in Song || Project of Love (youtube.com)

Spring Up, O Holy Spirit! “The Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,” proclaims the Nicene Creed, and all God’s people say Amen! Throughout Scripture, the Spirit is symbolized by fresh water, by the waters of life. Living water from running streams is a picture of the life-saving, soul-satisfying refreshment that can only be given by God through His Holy Spirit. In the Hebrew Bible, the connection between water and the Spirit is in Isaiah 44:3“I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and streams on the dry ground. I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and my blessings on your offspring.” And In Isaiah 32:15, 20, “Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fertile field… How blessed will you be, you who sow beside all waters.” When Jesus had that momentous discussion with the woman at the well, He promised her the water that will become in her “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14). Lest anyone be confused about that water of life, John clarified the matter once and for all after Jesus shouted out His messianic invitation, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink! He who believes in me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water!” (John 7:37-38). After which John added, “But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive.” (John 7:39). So when the Holy Spirit said ‘Come’ in Revelation 22:17, He is inviting those who are thirsty to come to Him and drink freely from His fountain of life. Only those who are thirsty, those who are “painfully conscious of his need of those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported and strengthened” (AMP), can receive the Spirit’s water of life. Only the thirsty can have their thirst quenched by the Spirit. The Bride of Christ, the Church, joins in the invitation, appealing to all who are spiritually thirsty to come and drink of the Spirit. Whoever drinks of the Spirit will have an ongoing stream of life flowing out of his heart. And this water is free of charge. “Ho! Everyone who thirsts come to the waters; you who have no money, come!” (Isaiah 55:1). John’s final appeal in Scripture is the divine invitation of the Holy Spirit to come to Him for life-giving water. As the Father made clear in Isaiah 41:17, “The afflicted and needy shall rejoice exceedingly, for when they shall seek water, but there is none, and their tongues are parched with thirst, I the Lord God, will hear them; As the God of Israel, I will not forsake them.” The Spirit’s invitation to come and drink is simply a profound gesture of God’s mercy. Spring up, O well! Gush forth, O Holy Spirit!

Phil Wickham – Spring Up O Well (Official Pseudo Video) (youtube.com)

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