Zechariah 13:1
Salvation through Christ. The glorious gospel.

I. THE EVIL. "Sin and uncleanness." All are sinners. Law, facts of life, testimony of conscience, prove our guilt. Sin defiles all that it touches. Uncleanness, alas how prevalent, and in manifold forms! 'Twas sin that brought it all into the world. If there were no sin there would be no uncleanness. Need for grief and prayer.

II. THE REMEDY. Fountain, etc.

1. Freedom of access. Open, not shut. None debarred. In the promise of God - by the atoning death of Christ - through the ministry of grace, the fountain has been opened for all (John 19:34; 1 John 1:7; Hebrews 9:13).

2. Plenitude of supply, Not a pool or a cistern, but a fountain, with rich and ample supplies for all. Thousands and tens of thousands have already been blessed, and whosoever will may come, and will find that Christ is mighty to save.

3. Perennial virtue. Not like Bethesda, at certain times; but all the year round, and from, generation to generation. After many years' absence, I visited the home of my youth. There were sad changes. Friends were gone. None to know me. But under the shade of firs, in the old place, I found the spring where I had often slaked my thirst. It was still the same - the water sweet and refreshing as ever. So Christ is "the Same yesterday, today, and forever." - F.







In that day there shall be a fountain opened, etc.
To what can the prophet refer but the exclamation of John, "Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world."

I. EXPLAIN THE PROMISE.

1. The fountain. This image holds forth the Redeemer. In distinction from creatures, which are "cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water," He may well call Himself the "Fountain of living waters." He shall possess a plenitude Himself. The fulness of the Christian is derived and limited: it is the fulness of a vessel. The vessel is supplied from the fulness of a fountain. This fountain is the Lord Jesus. His fulness is original and boundless. It is the fulness of a spring.

2. The fountain was to be opened. A fountain, sealed would be useless; it would only provoke desire. What would the Saviour's excellencies and benefits be to us if unattainable and inaccessible? The fountain was actually opened in His sufferings. The apostles laid it open doctrinally, in their preaching and in their epistles.

3. This fountain is opened for sin and for uncleanness. There had been provisions for ceremonial pollution, under the Mosaic economy. The brazen sea. Ten layers. See also the Pool of Siloam. Sin is uncleanness. Its very nature is contamination. Sin is a pollution the most deep and diffusive. The very conscience is defiled. It is the "abominable thing." But there is a fountain that washes out even the stains of the soul, — and of sin. And it was opened for this very purpose.

II. TO IMPROVE THE TRUTH CONTAINED IN THE PROMISE. Five classes have a relation to the truth before us.

1. The ignorant. Such as cry, "Peace, peace, when there is no peace."

2. The presumptuous. Antinomian perversion is worse than mere ignorance.

3. The self-righteous, who hope to cleanse themselves in some other way.

4. The fearful. For it is no easy thing to satisfy the conscience of awakened sinners.

5. Those who by faith have applied to the Saviour, and who know by experience that there is indeed a fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.

(William Jag.)

I. WHAT THEY NEEDED. Two things: deliverance from guilt and condemnation, and deliverance from sin's impurity. These are the very blessings for which our text represents provision has been made. The fountain is opened "for sin and for uncleanness." The former meaning "guilt," the latter "pollution." The whole context prohibits our regarding the language as referring to anything ceremonial. The guilt, contracted, and requiring remission, is the guilt of "piercing," that is, of putting to death the true, divinely promised. Messiah, and the "uncleanness" points to those unholy and hellish principles and dispositions in the soul from which the guilt originated, by which the fearful act was prompted. The guilt was deep. The depth of moral debasement and violence was fearful from which they who had been guilty of it required to be purified.

II. HOW THESE BLESSINGS ARE PROVIDED FOR THEM.

1. What is the fountain? It is a twofold figure, comprehending the grace of Christ's Spirit as well as the virtue of Christ's blood, cleansing as well as forgiveness. Theme blessings are always found in union. Christ died that sinners might be both pardoned and purified; and the two designs were emblematically indicated by the mingling of the blood and water that flowed from His pierced heart. The fountain means at once the blood of Christ's atonement and the grace of Christ's Spirit; the one required for forgiveness, and the other for regeneration and cleansing: the two, however, being inseparable; the faith which interests in the pardoning virtue of the blood, being the product of the grace of the Spirit, and the grace of the Spirit effecting the renewal and sanctification of the soul by means of the doctrine which makes known the pardoning virtue of the blood: it being the same faith, under the agency of the same Spirit, which at once justifies and sanctifies. And it is thus that the blood is represented as the means of purifying as well as of procuring pardon.

2. When was this fountain opened? When Christ died; when His blood was shed on the cross, for the remission of sins; when the blood and the water flowed in union from His pierced side. While strictly and properly, the fountain was opened then, — it might be said to have been opened from the time when it came first to be needed, — from the time when man sinned. It was then opened by anticipation. The first promise opened it. The moment man became a sinner he needed the two blessings of pardon and sanctification.

3. How is it here said to be opened "in that day"? The answer is, that although there have now and then, since the judgments of God overtook the Jewish people for their unbelief, been instances of Jews brought to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah and Saviour, and to obtain salvation by faith in Him; yet to the large mass of that dispersed, and for the time divinely abandoned people, the fountain has not been open. It has been sealed; sealed by themselves, and for their unbelief judicially sealed by God. When the time of mercy arrives the fountain shall, in God's providence and by God's grace, be opened for their cleansing from their guilt and their pollution. It is said of them, "They shall look on Me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn."

4. For what purpose? Two — the washing away of guilt, and. the washing away of moral defilement. Both these purposes were in the mind of God, as to be alike effected by the mediation of the Son. That the guilt of sin might be fully taken away, and thus the sinner escape its punishment, atonement was necessary.

5. For what persons? not simply for the restored of Israel, — but for the "house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem." The idea thus conveyed is that of all ranks, from the royal occupants of the palace to the tenants of the meanest dwelling. All shall be stricken through with the conviction and alarm; all shall feel the bitterness of contrition; all shall mourn. And for all, in like manner, the fountain shall be opened. All shall need it. All shall have access to it. All shall avail themselves of it.

(Ralph Wardlaw, D. D.)

It is a beautiful thing to see a fountain playing. Fountain in the text is the best fountain. What is meant by this fountain? It means the blood which Jesus shed when He hung upon the cross. It is in consequence of what Jesus then suffered — the blood He shed, and the death He died — that God pardons the sins of men, and saves their souls. It is the best fountain —

1. Because it is easy to get at. No long journey is needed. You may find it everywhere.

2. It never changes. Other fountains are sometimes in full play, and sometimes very feeble. Illustrate by the Pool of Bethesda. This is always the same.

3. Because of its wonderful powers. Some fountains cure diseases and restore health. This is designed for the souls of men. This has a wonderful cleansing power, and a wonderful healing power, and a wonderful preserving power against the worms of pride and selfishness that may imperil our souls, as they do the good ships; a wonderful beautifying power, and a wonderful saving power.

(R. Newton, D. D.)

I. WHEREIN IS CHRIST A FOUNTAIN? When it is said Christ is our fountain, it holds forth two things:

1. Fulness. A fountain is not like a cistern; a cistern may be full, but the fulness of it may be emptied; so may the fulness of a fountain too, but then a fountain, or a spring, fills itself again immediately. So doth not a cistern. A cistern may be full, but it doth not rise up and run over, as a fountain doth, and that continually. For this reason the corrupt nature in us is compared to a fountain (Jeremiah 6:7) — bubbling up in vain thoughts, inordinate desires, corrupt affections. Now, in Jesus Christ there is a fulness, and it is a fountain-fulness (Colossians 1:19), fulness — all fulness, and all fulness dwelling, and by the good pleasure of the Father. What is He full of? The two things that our poor souls have most need of towards the making of us happy. Merit and righteousness for justification; and spirit and grace for sanctification. He hath merit enough; His merit is of infinite value, sufficient to take away all sin (Hebrews 7:25) — able to save. He hath Spirit enough, to sanctify us throughout, to break the power of every lust, to strengthen us to every good word and work. He is such a fountain as can open in us a fountain, springing up into eternal life (John 4:14; John 1:16).

2. Usefulness. A fountain is of great use. What striving was there in Abraham's time, and Isaac's time, and Jacob's time, about wells of water (Genesis 21 and Genesis 26). When Achsah was to ask a boon of her father Caleb, Give me, said she, springs of water (Judges 1:15). Were we to ask but one thing of our heavenly Father, there were reason it should be, Lord, give us a fountain. Why, blessed be His name, He hath given us one. Not only springs of water, useful for our outward man, a land of springs, like Canaan but a Christ, a Christ for our souls. A fountain of water is useful for three things —(1) For quenching of thirst. How glad is the weary traveller, or labourer, of a spring of water; though it be but fair water. Oh, says he, it hath saved my life. The Israelites in the wilderness, when there was no water, what an affliction was it to them. When they had it, it was sweet as honey and oil (1 Corinthians 10:4). Now, this fountain is very useful for this purpose. Is thy soul athirst? — athirst for peace, pardon, life, salvation, for grace, strength? Here is a fountain for thee, come and drink (Isaiah 55:1) — buying frightens; therefore, come freely. Thou art called (John 7:37; Revelation 22:15). See the discourse of our Lord Jesus with the woman of Samaria (John 4:10-14). Alas! the most of men know not what this means — they are sensible of no need, and therefore of no desire, but (Psalm 42:1) "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God."(2) For washing away filth. Water cleanses; we could not tell what to do without it — to make our bodies, our clothes, comfortable. This fountain also is cleansing. Sin defiles, leaves a blot, a stain, upon the soul. It is uncleanness. The guilt of it is so: from that we are washed by the blood of Christ, satisfying God's justice and making atonement; also purging the conscience (1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5; Hebrews 9:14). The corrupt nature, which is the root and principle of it, is so (Psalm 14:3). From this the Spirit of Christ washes in the laver of regeneration (Titus 3:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 6:11).(3) For watering the earth and making it fruitful. They use to have fountains for that purpose in their gardens, to be ready in a dry season to fetch water to refresh the plants. Herein also Christ is our fountain. Did He not water us every moment, grace in us would languish and die (Isaiah 27:3; Isaiah 44:3, 4). Now, it is the second of these especially that this text speaks of — Jesus Christ is a cleansing fountain; we have need of Him as such, for we are filthy and defiled.

II. WHAT KIND OF FOUNTAIN IS THE LORD JESUS? As a cleansing fountain He hath these properties.

1. He is full, He hath enough wherewithal to cleanse us; merit enough, spirit enough. Under the law they had cleansing appointments as to ceremonial pollutions, but ours is beyond theirs. They had blood, but it was but the blood of bulls and goats, and that in a bason only; but we have the blood of the Son of God, not in a bason, but a fountain full of it. They had water; one particularly, called the water of purification, made of the ashes of a red heifer. Open and free as to terms. We say — What is freer than a gift? He is the gift of God (John 4:10), the free gift (Romans 5.), the unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15). Though thou hast no worthiness, no matter, He is worthy. Cordial acceptance makes Him ours. He forgives freely (Isaiah 43:25).

2. The only fountain. Besides Him there is no other (Acts 4:12). We may think, perhaps, as Naaman — "Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?" (2 Kings 5:12). But no other fountain will do.

III. THE APPLICATION, IN FOUR PARTICULARS.

1. Here is matter for thanksgiving to God, who —(1) Appointed this fountain in the counsel of His will from all eternity (John 3:16).(2) Opened it in the fulness of time, after it had been shut for four thousand years (Galatians 4:4).(3) Opened it to us; to us of this nation, country, neighbourhood, of this present age and generation. We are within hearing of the joyful sound.(4) And specially, that He hath brought us to it and washed us in it. This is certainly the mercy of mercies, — "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Revelation 1:5). This is more than angels can say. When ten lepers were cleansed, only one returned to give thanks (Luke 17).

2. Here is matter for conviction. Convincing! Of what? Of your need of this fountain to wash in. That which is unclean doth certainly need washing; but thou art unclean, I mean, thy soul, thy mind, thy conscience; inwardly, spiritually. I am sure thou wast so by nature; born in guilt and filth; like an infant weltering in blood and pollution (Ezekiel 16). And art thou washed? When, and how? And by whom, and with what? I am sure that every sin thou hast committed hath added to that original pollution, and hath made thee more and more filthy (Psalm 106:39; Matthew 15:19, 20). Even vain thoughts (Jeremiah 4:17). So is the world also (James 1:27). Nay, our best duties have their pollutions (Isaiah 64:6). But there is one particular kind of sins, those against the seventh commandment, that is especially called uncleanness. And have we been in no sort guilty of that, neither in thought, word, nor deed?

(Philip Henry.)

I. A FOUNTAIN. Water is much valued in the East. We cannot wonder that spiritual blessings are so often exhibited to us in Scripture under images borrowed from water. These images found their way at once to the understandings and feelings of Jewish men. The Lord Jesus is meant by the text. He is represented as a fountain for a particular purpose; not for the thirsty to drink from, but for the unclean to wash in. Here again the text carries us into eastern climes. Bodily ablutions are much more common there than among us. With the Jews, too, they partook sometimes of a sacred character. The prophet mentions two things, sin and uncleanness, but he has only one in his mind — sin under the figure of uncleanness. Does uncleanness degrade whatever it touches? So has sin degraded us. Is uncleanness a disgusting and loathsome thing? If there is anything disgusting in the universe, it is sin. When God calls it by this name, He represents it as some thing which He cannot bear to look upon. In the text is a remedy for this hateful evil. It is a suitable, a real, effectual remedy for it. It is a fountain that can remove uncleanness, and is intended to remove it. This fountain is nothing else than the precious blood of God's own dear Son. That blood was shed for us. As water removes uncleanness from the body, so does this blood remove the guilt of sin from the soul. It does away with it, frees the soul from it, makes our condition as safe, and in the end as happy, as though we had never sinned. This effectual remedy for sin is here described as an abundant, lasting remedy. Thousands may wash in it, and it will be as everflowing as ever, able to cleanse thousands and thousands more.

II. FOR WHOM THIS FOUNTAIN IS INTENDED. For the Jews first, then for all others.

1. The utter insufficiency of all rites and ordinances to cleanse the soul from sin. Who were these men? The very men to whom pertained the law, with all its sacrifices. When guilt oppressed or conscience disquieted them, they could in a few minutes be in their temple, and sharing in its sacrifices and service. But the text addresses them as if they were the very heathen. All their legal ordinances could not expiate their guilt. I is the same with our Christian sacraments. God has ordained them, not to take away sin, but to keep us mindful of it, and of that blood which can take it away.

2. We are taught here the all-sufficiency of Christ's blood to cleanse the soul. There is no guilt too great for the blood of Christ to wash out, no sinner whom He cannot recover and save.

III. THE TIME WHEN THIS FOUNTAIN SHALL BE OPENED TO THESE SINFUL MEN. "In that day." The day of our Lord's crucifixion. They point also to a day yet to come, when the Jews as a nation shall be brought to repentance and the reception of Christ. Learn —

1. There can be no real knowledge of Christ without repentance.

2. Wherever there is real repentance there also will God give in the end a real knowledge of His salvation. Would that we might all learn from this Scripture to seek for ourselves a deeper consciousness of sin, a more heartfelt and abiding sorrow on account of it!

(C. Bradley.)

The prophet leads us to consider the legal uncleannesses so much and so fully developed in the Old Testament, and leads us through them to look at the great disease of sin — the leprosy of the soul.

I. THE GREAT UNCLEANNESS — THE SPIRITUAL LEPROSY OF THE SOUL. This is that that defileth a man. It is not poverty; it is not sickness nor disease — however terrible or however sinful. That which defileth a man. This inward leprosy maketh a man an offence to God. This evil pervadeth the world, and yet men are as insensible of it as if there were no truth in it.

II. A FOUNTAIN OPEN FOR SIN AND FOR UNCLEANNESS. The fountain is the blood of Jesus. A bubbling fountain, ever full, ever abundant.

III. THIS FOUNTAIN IS SAID TO BE OPENED. Formerly, this fountain exclusively belonged to the priests and to the Jews; now, it is for the whole house of David, and for all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. There it stands, a fountain without cover, open and free for the very vilest.

(J. H. Evans.)

The text contains one important prediction which was fulfilled in Christ. It relates to the consequences of His death, with regard to His people, and shows of what great importance this event was to the whole Christian Church. The accomplishment shows with what confidence and comfort we may rely on the great doctrine of the atonement which it involves.

I. THE PROMISE OF PROVISION TO BE MADE AGAINST THE EFFECTS OF SIN.

1. The prophet speaks of a fountain to be opened. A fountain is properly the source or spring head of waters. Springs or fountains are called, "living," when they never cede or intermit, but are always sending forth their streams.

2. The blood of Christ was shed expressly, by appointment of God, and by covenant with the Son of God, for the expiation of human guilt, and for the cleansing and purifying of sinful men.

3. There is an inexhaustible fulness and sufficiency of merit in this blood of the Redeemer for the complete expiation of human sin. In its atoning and cleansing properties, the blood of Immanuel is as infinite as the mercy of God which it procures for sinners, and for the exercise of which it prepares the way.

4. This blood of Jesus Christ may he appropriated to the case and wants of any sinner that comes. Sinners may apply believingly to this blood, and obtain from it, not only the cleansing they require, but also plenteous forgiveness, substantial peace, and animating hope.

II. THE PERSONS FOR WHOM THIS PROVISION AGAINST THE EFFECTS OF SIN IS PROMISED.

1. By this expression the prophet intended primarily God's ancient people, the Jews. But the Jews, as the peculiar people of God, were a type of Christians, and His people everywhere, It is no presumption in us to conclude, as we have already assumed, that this promised provision is intended for us.

2. The double phrase may denote both rich and poor in God's Church.

III. THE TIME WHEN THE PROMISE WAS TO BE VERIFIED. The promise was actually fulfilled on the day of the Saviour's crucifixion on Calvary.

(J. Jaques, M. A.)

The application of this prophecy to Messiah is beyond all doubt. It contains the announcement of a divinely appointed and effectual remedy for the guilt and misery of man.

1. The certainty of this provision. "There shall be a fountain."

2. The perpetuity of this provision.

3. The freeness of this provision.

4. The sufficiency of this provision.

(W. G. Barrett.)

I. IN WHAT SENSE MAY THE LORD JESUS BE DEPICTED AS THE FOUNTAIN OPENED? In opposition to those many broken cisterns of human invention to which men are prone to apply. In opposition to those rivulets, those brooks, which are occasionally good, but which soon flow away and are lost. Under the law there were various layers prepared for the purpose of purifying from ceremonial guilt and pollution. Jesus is a fountain in opposition to all these types and images. The Lord Jesus is the fountain, because He Himself in His own power, in His own essence, contains inexhaustible and perpetual fulness.

II. FOR WHAT PURPOSE THE LORD JESUS IS THIS FOUNTAIN. For sin and for uncleanness. All sin is uncleanness. Repeating the expression gives more enlarged views of the efficacy of faith, and the grace of our Lord. For the purpose of giving comfort and peace to the believer the terms are doubled. This fountain cleanses not only from the guilt of sin, but also from the accusing and terrifying power of sin in the conscience.

III. TO WHOM IS IT OPENED? "The house of David and inhabitants of Jerusalem." In the East there were often contentions over fountains; this one is free to all. An open fountain, to which all ranks, all stations, all ages, all conditions, may repair.

(Archdeacon Law.)

Skeletons of Sermons.
I. THE FOUNTAIN THAT IS OPENED.

1. The plenitude of Divine grace. It is not a wasting stream, that soon exhausts its store, but a never-failing fountain, ever flowing in plenteous supplies for every demand. The Lord Jehovah is emphatically styled, "The God of all grace." Millions have been refreshed by this fountain, and still it is undiminished. There is "enough for all, and enough for evermore."

2. The freeness of Divine grace. It is not a fountain sealed up, and forbidden; but freely opened and accessible to all. None are excluded from participating its richest blessings (Revelation 22:17). No personal merit, or moral worthiness, is required in its willing recipients.

II. THE PERIOD WHEN IT WAS OPENED. "In that day," etc. When this expression occurs in the prophetic writings, it generally refers to the actual appearing, or spiritual reign of the Messiah. But we ought to notice respecting this fountain, that —

1. It was virtually opened in the original scheme of redemption. According to God's gracious promise to mankind, Christ is called, "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

2. It was actually opened in the mediatorial work of the Redeemer. When the fulness of time was come, Christ was manifested in the flesh, to accomplish the will of God, and procure the. salvation of sinners. He then fully opened this fountain, by fulfilling all righteousness in His own person — becoming the propitiation for our sins — rising again for our justification — ascending to heaven to be our Advocate with the Father — and diffusing an enlarged dispensation of the Holy Ghost; it was ministerially opened in the labours and writings of the Apostles, as "ambassadors for Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:23, 24, 30); and it still continues open.

III. THE PEOPLE TO WHOM IT IS OPENED. "The house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem." It is very evident —

1. This fountain was primarily opened to the Jews. To the Jews Christ was promised, and to them He came as His own people, according to the flesh. His personal ministry was generally confined to them; and He commanded His apostles to open their commission at Jerusalem, and preach the Gospel first to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Luke 24:46, 47).

2. This fountain is now graciously opened to the Gentiles. The blessings of the Messiah were not to be confined to the Jewish Church, He was sent to be a light of the Gentiles, and for salvation to the ends of the earth." "By the grace of God He tasted death for every man."

IV. THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH IT IS OPENED. It is "for sin and for uncleanness." This implies —

1. A fountain is opened for the expiation of sin. The death of Christ was a perfect sacrifice, by which an atonement was made for the sins of mankind.

2. A fountain is opened for the destruction of sin. It must not only be sacrificially expiated, but personally destroyed. The Son of God effects this destruction by the merit of His death, and the operation of His grace (Titus 2:14). All sin is moral uncleanness, and spreads its infectious disease through every power, both of body and soul. The ceremonial purifications under the law were emblematic of the efficacy of this fountain (Hebrews 9:13, 14).

(Skeletons of Sermons.)

The fulfilment of this prophecy has never yet taken place, and will probably be considerably posterior to our times. Though not fulfilled to the Jews, yet, to us the fountain is opened.

I. WHAT IS THIS FOUNTAIN? The ancient Jews had their sacrifices, and purifying oblations. They have now been long without a sacrifice and a priesthood. We are not to understand that these Levitical fountains will be opened again, as some have dreamed. The blood of animals might be an instituted means of taking away a ceremonial guilt, which yet left the sinner as he was before, in regard to the Governor of the world; but it had no fitness to take away moral guilt, because it failed in the two great principles of a true atonement, — a manifestation of the evil of sin, and a demonstration of God's righteous government. These meet in Christ, who is the true fountain.

II. ITS EFFICACY. In the removal of "sin and uncleanness."

1. Sin is the "transgression of the law." The law is transgressed in three ways, — by a violation of its precepts, by a neglect of its injunctions, and by a defect in its observance. Bringing all under the penalty of death.

2. Uncleanness (margin, "separation for uncleanness"). Allusion to arrangements in the Levitical system; typical of the manner in which sin separates between the soul and God.

III. THE DAY WHEN THE FOUNTAIN IS OPENED. The day of our Lord's crucifixion. The day when the Gospel is first preached in a heathen land. The day when a "Spirit of grace and supplication" is poured out. Whenever a penitent mourns. In every means of grace, that pardon may be repeated, and our sinful nature cleansed. We need never attend any of the ordinances of religious worship without receiving a renewed application of the blood of Christ, and a fresh communication of sanctifying grace.

(R. Watson.)

In the text the prophet anticipates the personal manifestation of the Messiah, and the unspeakable benefits to mankind from His atoning sacrifice.

I. THE FOUNTAIN THAT IS OPENED. Fountain is a metaphor. It represents the mediatorial character of Christ. As the source and medium of salvation to the human race. A fountain opened implies —

1. The plenitude of Divine grace. It is a never-failing fountain, ever flowing in plenteous supplies for every demand.

2. The freeness of Divine grace. It is not sealed, but freely opened, and accessible to all.

II. THE PERIOD WHEN IT WAS OPENED. "In that day." This expression, in the prophetic writings, generally refers to the actual appearing, or spiritual reign of Messiah. It refers to Christ's assumption of our nature, and sacrifice for our sins.

1. It was virtually opened in the original scheme of redemption.

2. It was actually opened in the mediatorial work of the Redeemer.

III. THE PEOPLE TO WHOM IT IS OPENED.

1. This fountain was primarily opened to the Jews.

2. It is now graciously opened to the Gentiles.

IV. THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH IT IS OPENED. It is "for sin and for uncleanness." This implies —

1. A fountain is opened for the expiation of sin. The death of Christ was a perfect sacrifice, by which an atonement was made for the sins of mankind.

2. A fountain is opened for the destruction of sin. The ceremonial purifications under the law were emblematic of the efficacy of this fountain.

(C. Simeon, M. A.)

It is not to the advent of a person, or to the occurrence of any historical event, that the prophecy in the beginning of this section refers: what is announced is the establishment of the economy of grace, the bringing in of the kingdom of God, free access to which should be given to all, small and great. There was provision made for the cleansing from sin and uncleanness of all without respect of persons; the Jew first, but also the Greek. The manifestation of this was by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who came to take away sin by the sacrifice of Himself; but it is the thing done rather than the doer of it that is here announced. It is for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem that this fountain is said to be opened. They seem to err grievously, however, who infer from this that this prophecy refers to the final conversion of the Jewish people. The prophets are wont to describe the new dispensation in language borrowed from the condition and usages of the old, and we interpret them aright when keeping this in view, we understand their descriptions, not as representations of simple historical facts, but as serving as the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, and as finding their fulfilment in crises and conditions of the kingdom of God on earth. They go upon the presumption that the Israel of God was never to be abolished, that its continuity was never to be interrupted, that though the outward national Israel might be cast off, because of their rejection of the Good Shepherd, the true Israel, the reality of which the other was but the symbol, the Israel that was really Israel, should continue forever. This idea our Lord and His Apostles adopted, and in their teaching and administrations carried out.

(W. L. Alexander, D. D.)

Remission of sins and sanctification, purging away the guilt of sin by the grace of God in forgiving sins through Christ's blood, and the virtue of His blood applied by the Spirit, and laid hold upon by faith, for purging all uncleanness of sin; this is compared to a springing fountain made open to all, in opposition to the small measure of water carried into the temple for legal washings. This benefit will be very conspicuous toward converted Israel, when the Redeemer shall turn iniquity from Jacob.

1. The great and chief privilege of the Gospel is remission and purging of sin, which, as they are only attainable through faith laying hold on Christ's blood and the grace of God offered through Him in the Gospel, so without these, no other advantages by the Gospel will avail much, or be comfortable.

2. The free grace of God toward lost man, and the virtue of Christ's blood is a treasure inexhaustible, and which cannot be overcome, with the greatness and multiplicity of sin in those who flee unto it, for it is a fountain or spring.

3. Pardon and virtue for purging of sin is not only purchased, and the way to it made patent, by the death of Christ, giving access unto God through Him; but is held forth in the offer of the Gospel and ministry of the Word, that none may pretend ignorance, nor any who need it seclude themselves from so free an offer, "A fountain opened."

4. As the greatest must be in Christ's reverence for this benefit, even those who have greatest gifts and are rulers of others, so the meanest in the Church, however they be not equal to others in gifts, yet have a like interest with them in this saving benefit.

5. When the Lord pours out upon His people the spirit of repentance and humiliation, it is a forerunner of ample manifestations of the grace of God, in opening up the treasures of the Gospel by the ministry of the Word, and in granting of pardon, and growth in purity. For, when "the land shall mourn," " in that day there shall be a fountain opened."

(George Hutcheson.)

The twelfth chapter of Zechariah is principally occupied with the indications of some particular day. Thus, we read again and again: "In that day" (ver. 3); "In that day" (ver. 4); "In that day" (ver. 6); "In that day" (ver. 8); "In that day" (ver. 9); and "In that day," in the opening of the thirteenth chapter — "In that day there shall be a fountain opened." The reference is not in reality to some particular day; the day was not the same, the calendar was filled with that particular day, and yet the day was singular from all other days round about it. In all the previous instances we find nothing equal to the music that is discoverable in the opening of the thirteenth chapter. We read, "In that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone"; "In that day I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness"; "In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf"; "In that day shall there be great mourning in Jerusalem"; but now, in the thirteenth chapter, "In that day there shall be a fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness" —a fountain of water, a living fountain, hidden all the time in the rock; not a new fountain, the fountain was always there, but not always open; its existence was recognised by many a ceremonial action. We read of water in the Book of Numbers that is known in the literal Hebrew as "the sin water," that is to say, the water that was applied to the cleansing of moral and spiritual offences, We delight to give an evangelical interpretation to this fountain. We call Jesus Christ the Son of God, the fountain that was opened for sin and for uncleanness. He offered to make men clean, He offered to refresh the souls of men with living water; He is described as the Water of earth, or the Water of heaven. David did not open the fountain, the fountain was opened in his house; the very grammar suggests an external and superintending act. In this living fountain we recognise God's supreme miracle. For whom is the fountain opened? For a special class, and for that class only. It is not opened for Pharisees, righteous persons, or those who would carve their own way to heaven. This fountain is opened for sin and for uncleanness. Is any man conscious of sin? Here is the fountain. Has any man sat down by rivers of water and taken to him soap and nitre, and tried to cleanse his life of sin stains, and has consciously and pitiably failed in his attempt? Here is the fountain opened for uncleanness. Have we tried this fountain? Until we have tried it we cannot condemn it; until we have gone to it and sat beside it and invoked the spirit of its Creator, we cannot tell what virtue it possesses.

(Joseph Parker, D. D.)

Old mythology tells of one who discovered in his wanderings a fountain of peculiar qualities, and on bathing in it, found himself endowed with immortality. In the Holy Scripture this fiction is turned into solid fact. The Saviour's fulness is original and boundless; the fulness of a spring always flowing and never diminished. The whole abundance of God's free grace is poured unto us from this unfailing source. The fountain of life was opened on the day when the Divine Redeemer suffered and died for us. During the brief period of our Saviour's ministry, the fountain flowed in partial streams, but at His death it was fully and forever opened. The Mosaic law had made ample provision for ceremonial pollution, and there were pools, like that of Siloam, where bodily disease might be cured, but the soul must be washed in another fountain. The stains of sin were so deep and so pervading, that even the conscience itself was defiled, and "the everlasting benediction of God's heavenly washing," could alone render the soul meet for His presence and glory. Such provision, accordingly, has been made, and a fountain has been opened for sin and for uncleanness. There are those who hope to cleanse themselves by some methods of their own. Would God have opened this fountain, if any other would have sufficed? The fountain stands open in the means of grace; in the invitations of God's Word; in the nearness, the power, the grace of our adorable Lord and Saviour.

(John N. Norton.)

I. It is a "DAY" FOR THE ABOUNDING OF SIN CLEANSING INFLUENCES. — To the Jews, washing from sin and ceremonial impurity was an idea with which they were well acquainted. It was enjoined by the law (Numbers 8:7, see also Ezekiel 36:25). That sin and uncleanness are in the world. This is a fact written in all history, patent to every man's observation and consciousness.

2. The removal of sin is the world's great necessity. Its existence is the cause of all the miseries of the world, physical, social, political, religious.

3. Provision for its removal abounds. "A fountain opened." Sin and uncleanness are not an essential part of human nature. Men have lived without sin, and men in heaven do now. It is a mere stain on human nature, separable from it, and the means of separation are provided, provided in the Gospel. It is a fountain.This implies —

1. Abundance. It is not a rill, a brook, a lake, but a fountain. What is the fountain? Infinite love. This implies —

2. Freeness. Flowing, ever open to all. This implies —

3. Perpetuity. The hottest sun does not dry up the fountain. It has an under connection with the boundless deep.

II. It is a "day" in WHICH IDOLATRY SHALL BE UTTERLY ABOLISHED. What a blessed age will that be, when all men on the face of the earth shall have their souls centred in love and devotion on the one great and common Father of us all!

III. It is a "day" in which ALL FALSE RELIGIOUS TEACHINGS SHALL CEASE. "And I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirits to pass out of the land," etc.

1. False religious teachers are great curses to a community. This is implied in the promise here of their destruction. They deceive souls on the most vital of all points.

2. False religious teachers may become objects of indignation even to their nearest relations. Thank God there is an age of reality coming, an age when men will recoil from shams as from "demons vile."

3. False teachers will on this "day" be ashamed to exercise their mission. If any false prophets should continue to exercise their function, they will have to do it —

(1)in secrecy;

(2)and disclaiming their profession.Should their disclaiming be questioned, they will take shelter in falsehood. "And one shall say unto Him, what are these wounds in Thine hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends."

A criminal, condemned by our law to die, can only be spared by the King empowering the Home Secretary to reprieve or pardon. Even then to remove the stain that must always rest upon that person's character is utterly beyond the power of them both. How different with Jesus. His power is unlimited. He not only is able to forgive sins, but He can cleanse away every trace of guilt, and present us faultless unto God.

"A fountain," says James Bailie, "not a stagnant pool or a sluggish canal, but a torrent, a waterfall. God's love flows forth like a great river over the Rock of Ages. Men bathe in that fountain, and their sins are swept away into the dead sea of God's forgetfulness. God has pardoned transgressions, the very recital of which would have utterly destroyed our faith in human nature. One of the strongest proofs of Divine origin of Christianity is that it has received in its embrace liars, swindlers, and adulterers, and having cleansed and purified them, made them ornaments of society."

Do you know that the wound that Hedley Vicars received before Sebastopol was not necessarily fatal? It was a wound that was very common, and a wound over which the surgeons had complete control, yet he died. How was it? It was because, in the hurry and haste of the march in the grey morning from the heights of the Crimea, the tents where the stores were, were left behind. Had there been a bandage near, had there been lint and cotton wool near, Hedley Vicars would have been saved; but he bled his life away before they could reach the tents. Ah, David tells you today that the tents where God's supplies are, are never too far away. Blessed be God, the bandages, and lint, and healing efficacy of the blood of Christ, are not confined to Calvary, where it was shed. Here it flows. Oh, plunge into the fountain that was opened for sin!

(John Robertson.)

The sense of sin, we are told, is weaker today than it once was. Are we quite sure, if we could penetrate beneath the crust of men's reserve? An American humorist has put it, but oh! so truly, "In his heart of hearts no man can have much respect for himself." In our heart of hearts, in our moments of colloquy with ourselves, when we feel ourselves to be in the presence of another whom we cannot name, we accuse ourselves, and there is no escape from the accusation and its penalty. The sense of sin may be outwardly weaker, but you are always upon safe ground if you appeal to the condemned conscience that is in every man. We have seen our life is marred by the presence of sin; and that mournful fact is not partial but universal. Touch the man and you touch one who has been seared and scored by the presence of an enemy, and that enemy is sin.

(R. J. Campbell, B. A.)

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