And to Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua…
I. THE UPPER SPRINGS, AS THEY PICTURE FORTH THE JOY-SOURCES OF THE HIGHER NATURE. "My soul thirsteth for God — the living God!" Nor need we be disappointed. It is pensive to think that some thirsts, and honest thirsts too, must be disappointed, Not to all are given possibilities equal to their desires. Their ideals are above their realisation! But none need be disappointed in God! Christ has opened up a free and full channel of communication. "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell." We have read of waters in the East which, copious at some times, are scarce at others. To-day the waters pour forth their freshening streams, irrigate the land, and satisfy the thirst of man and beast; to-morrow the faithless well is dry. Not so with Christ. In Him the waters dwell. But more than this, Christ is not only the fulness of God, He is the available fulness for us.
1. Take fellowship with God. Inspired words used about this are not the language of poetic fiction or overwrought religious feeling. They are the actual experiences of meditative, devout, earnest, inspired men. "God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever."
2. Take likeness to God. Who can conceive of a more magnificent ideal than God-life in the soul? Be ye holy as your leather, &c. Be ye followers of God, &c. Herein consists our true life. Not in the mere culture of art-faculty, but in the growth of the moral likeness to God! We become happier as we become more like Him. Less vexed with trifles, less anxious about losses provided they bring gains to the soul, less conformed to the world, more restful in the love of God!
3. Take the service of God. Christ does not call us to His work merely that we may work, that our moral nature may have something to do; the Lord hath need of us. I say this not only dignifies life, it makes it delightful (John 4:34). These are upper springs! Co-workers together with God!
4. Take the friends of God. These are yours! We are made for each other! Church life is designed to draw forth common sympathies and common purposes. We are pilgrims to the same shrine; soldiers in the same battlefield; fruit-gatherers in the same vineyard; children of the same Father. Thoughtful Christian friendship is one of the choicest blessings we can enjoy.
5. Take the future of God's children. I love to think of them at home there. Upper springs coming from the throne of God and the Lamb: "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more." Shall we drink of those upper springs? I hope so! Do we love Christ now? Do we enjoy His service now? If so, when the morning of eternity comes to us, we shall know in a higher sense than we have ever known on earth the meaning of "the upper springs."
II. THE NETHER SPRINGS, AS THEY ILLUSTRATE THE MERE SATISFACTIONS OF THE LOWER NATURE. Take care lest all life plays upon the surface! Take care lest all life's drinking be at the nether springs. I am not now speaking of the grossness of sensualism, but of mere sensationalism. It is possible to live a merely surface life. Let us remember that there are eyes and ears within us, that the invisible world, the world which embraces God and judgment and eternity, is always speaking through many voices to our conscience and heart. Mere earthly aims are nether springs. Some people are always drinking at the springs of position and success. They attempt to please men.
Parallel VersesKJV: And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron.
WEB: To Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a portion among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of Yahweh to Joshua, even Kiriath Arba, named after the father of Anak (the same is Hebron).