Chapter 23


Christ the Well of Salvation


“Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with [his] journey, sat thus on the well: [and] it was about the sixth hour.” (John 4:6)


Christ is a River flowing from the throne of God, the River of the Water of Life (Revelation 22:1). — “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High” (Psalm 46:4). — “Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water” (Psalm 65:9).


            The Lord Jesus is “The Fountain of Life” and “The Fountain of Israel” (Psalm 36:9; 68:26). — He is the “Fountain of Living Waters” (Jeremiah 17:13), from whom we receive the Spirit of God, Who springs up in our souls as a Well of Living Water unto everlasting life (John 7:37-39).


            And he is “a Fountain opened” to us for sin and uncleanness by God the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 12:10). How often in Scripture our blessed Savior is spoken of as “Water.” He is a River of Water and a Fountain of Water. And in John 4:6 we see the Lord Jesus meeting a sinner at a well of water. — “Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.”


The Message


There’s got to be something special about that. Everything written in the Book of God is designed to teach us something about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the message of this blessed Book. All the laws given to Israel, every aspect of worship under the ceremonial law, all the prophecies, all the events in the history of Israel, everything in the Inspired Volume, by the design of infallible inspiration, points us to the Lord Jesus Christ.


            It is of immense importance that we never read the Scriptures casually, merely for entertainment, or to fulfil our daily disciplines. We should always seek the spiritual message in every passage we read. I do not mean that we should invent a spiritual message and read it into a text; but we should always seek the spiritual message of the text, understanding that the message of every text is Jesus Christ and him crucified (Luke 24:27, 44-47; John 5:39; Acts 10:43).


            If the whole Volume of Inspiration is written to reveal the person and work of our beloved Redeemer, as it clearly is, that means, as A. W. Pink observed, that, “There is a profound significance to everything in Scripture, even the seemingly unimportant details.”


      With these things in mind, I call your attention to the place where our Lord Jesus met the adulterous Samaritan woman, the place at which grace was bestowed upon her, the place from which she found that living water, which was made to be in her soul “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” —Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.”


Significance of Places


All that transpired between Christ and this poor sinner took place at the well called, Jacob’s well. Frequently, it is impossible to understand the spiritual, Gospel meaning of those events recorded in the Scriptures until we know the place where those events occurred and understand the significance of it. Let me show you some examples of what I mean.


1.    The children of Israel were in Egypt when the Lord delivered them by blood and by power. — Egypt symbolizes the world of darkness and the bondage we were in, under the tyranny of Satan and the terror of the law, when God saved us by his grace.


2.    John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea. — That wilderness aptly portrays the emptiness, barrenness, and desolation of religion without Christ.


3.    When our Savior began His public ministry, He went up into the mountain, a place of elevation, to give us the Sermon on the Mount. — That mountain displayed the elevation of His throne and the heavenly nature and source of His doctrine.


4.    When He gave out the parables of His kingdom, He went down to the seaside. — In the Scriptures, the sea represents the Gentile world[1]. Thus, He taught that His Gospel, His kingdom, and his salvation were for God’s elect throughout all the world, both Jew and Gentile.


5.    In the parable of the good Samaritan our Savior portrays the poor sinners He came to seek and save as a certain man, who went down from Jerusalem (the place of blessedness and peace, the city of God) to Jericho (the place of curse). — That is a picture of man’s fall.


6.    He taught us the same thing in the parable of the prodigal son. The prodigal son left his father’s house, ran away into a far country, and brought himself to abject poverty and utter ruin.


      I could give many more examples; but these will suffice to demonstrate the need for observing and understanding the meaning of the place where things happen in the Scriptures. Everything written in the Book of God is written by Divine inspiration and is written for a purpose; and that purpose is to teach us the Gospel.


            The Lord Jesus came to Jacob’s well, choosing that spot to be the place where He would make Himself known to the adulterous Samaritan woman, because He is Himself the Well of Salvation. Let’s see if that is not the teaching of Holy Scripture. In Isaiah 12:3 we read, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”


            Christ is the Well of Salvation; and there are many wells of salvation in Him from which we draw the Water of Life. It is a great mistake to limit the accomplishment of our salvation to one thing. Christ is our Salvation; and He accomplished and accomplishes salvation for us by many mighty deeds of grace. There are many wells of salvation in Him from which we draw the Water of Life. — The Well of His Divinity (John 1:1-3) — The Well of His Humanity (John 1:14) — The Well of His Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:6) — The Well of His Atonement (Romans 5:1-11) — The Well of His Resurrection (Philippians 3:10) — The Well of His Exaltation (Philippians 2:8-11) — The Well of His Intercession (1 John 2:1-2) — The Well of His Indwelling (Colossians 1:27) — The Well of His Second Coming (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) — The Well of His Presentation (Jude 24-25).


            In the Old Testament Scriptures the wells around which so many important events took place were typical of our Lord Jesus. We will look at seven wells that stand out as highly significant places in Scripture. These seven physical, historic wells, as meaningful as they were historically, are insignificant and meaningless to us, until we see how they represent our great Savior, Who is the Well from which we must draw the waters of salvation and eternal life by faith.


1.    The Well of Meeting (Genesis 16:6-7, 13-14)


(Genesis 16:6-7)  “But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.”


(Genesis 16:13-14)  “And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.”


Beerlahairoi” means “the well of him that liveth and seeth me.” This is the first mention of a well in the Word of God. It is not insignificant. The poor outcast was found at the well. God saw Hagar, met her, and supplied all her need at the well. The only place where God and sinners can ever meet is Christ. The only place at which God can or will look upon sinners in favor is Christ. The only source from which the needs of our souls can be supplied is Christ.


            The children of Israel named that place where the Lord spoke to Moses and promised to give them water “Beer” (Well of Life). When they were “discouraged because of the way” (Numbers 21:4), they returned to the well and sang unto it (Numbers 21:14-18).


(Numbers 21:14-18)  “Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the LORD, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon, And at the stream of the brooks that goeth down to the dwelling of Ar, and lieth upon the border of Moab. And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the LORD spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water. Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it: The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves. And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah.”


            The fact that they sang (not by the well, but) unto the well makes it obvious that they were taught to look upon the wells God gave them as being representative of Christ and life in Him by the Spirit (John 7:37-39).


2.    The Well of Revelation (Genesis 21:14-19)


Here again we see Hagar. This time, she has been expelled from the patriarch’s home with her son, Ishmael.


(Genesis 21:14-19)  “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.”


      This well was the place of revelation to Hagar. Here is a poor, outcast sinner, perishing in a desolate wilderness. She is helplessly weeping before the Lord, not really praying, just weeping. Broken-hearted, desperate, helpless, she waited to die, watching her only child die. But God intervened. — “And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.” What a great blessing of grace that was (Proverbs 20:12; 1 John 5:20). If we would be saved, we must know God. But God cannot be known by us, except He reveal Himself. And the triune God reveals Himself to sinners in Christ alone (John 1:18).


Look at another well in this same chapter.


3.    The Well of A Covenant (Genesis 21:27-31)


(Genesis 21:27-31)  “And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant. And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves? And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well. Wherefore he called that place Beersheba [Well of Oath – Well of Promise]; because there they sware both of them.”


The patriarchs cherished their wells. They often fought wars to defend and keep them, because without the well they could not survive. That is a good picture of the believer’s desperate need of Christ. We must have Him! Here, in Genesis 21:27-31, we are told about a covenant sealed by an oath at a well. It was a covenant for good. Does that remind you of anything? It should remind us of that better, everlasting covenant of grace, of which Christ is the Surety (Hebrews 7:20-22).


4.    A Well of Prayer (Genesis 24:10-12)


In Genesis 24 we find Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, seeking a bride for Isaac. As he went about his business, he stopped by a well to pray, seeking God’s direction, God’s will, God’s mercy.


(Genesis 24:10-12)  “And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham.”


Christ, the Well of Salvation, is that One in whom, through whom, and by whom we have access to God. Christ is for us the Well of Prayer, the Place of Prayer (Hebrews 4:15-16).


5.    The Well of Rest (Genesis 29:1-3)


(Genesis 29:1-3)  “Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth. And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.”


This well was found, not in the wilderness, but in the field. Here in green pastures the Good Shepherd makes His sheep lay down and rest and gives His sheep water from the well of His grace, assuring us that all is well with our souls. — “Say ye to the righteous, that [it shall be] well [with him]: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings” (Isaiah 3:10). Christ is our Well of Rest. He is our Rest. He is our well of satisfaction. – “O that one would give me to drink of the water of the Well of Bethlehem” (2 Samuel 23:15).


(Isaiah 40:1-2)  “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”


6.    The Well of Refuge (Exodus 2:15-17)


(Exodus 2:15-17)  “Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well. Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.”


      Thank God, there is One to whom sinners can flee for refuge. Our Refuge is that One to whom this well pointed, the Lord Jesus Christ.


(Isaiah 32:1-2)  “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”


      To this well alone we must come, like the daughters of Jethro. The hireling shepherds, those preachers who hate the Gospel of the free and sovereign grace of God in Christ, drive sinners away from the well of refuge to a refuge of lies. Yet, even in this dark, dark day, God has His servants who, like Moses, stand up to help thirsting souls, watering the Lord’s flock.


7.    Jacob’s Well!


(John 4:6)  “Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.”


The Lord Jesus Christ is Jacob’s Savior. Jacob was a divinely chosen sinner (Romans 9:11-13). He was a blood-bought, redeemed sinner (Psalm 77:15; Isaiah 43:1), a sinner conquered and saved by God’s free grace (Genesis 32:24). Jacob was a sinner who drank from Christ, the Well of Salvation, the Water of Life. Do you drink from this Well?








Don Fortner



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[1] Isaiah 17:12-13; Ezekiel 26:3; Daniel 7:2; Revelation 17:5