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The Fountainhead

“And the singers, like the dancers — all my fountainheads are in you!”

(Psalm 87:7)

There are a great many different views on these final words of this psalm. Many of our English translations present the last phrase as what it is that the singers and dancers are singing. While that could very much be so, that would be an inference that is being made for they must insert the word, “say,” into the text when it it not absolutely needed, as these words may simply be the Psalmist’s final words — perhaps it is his personal “selah” at the end of the psalm.

Some commentators suggest that “singers” belongs to the previous verse, but that would be odd given the presence of the selah at the end of that section. Many of our English Bibles create a kind of play on words with their English translation that is not present in the Hebrew, as they translate the final words as “all my springs are in you.” Given that dancers twirl and spring, this rendering implies a form of jumping dance not unlike what we see in David as he leads the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:16). Yet, in Hebrew, the word here has to do with headwaters of a well or of a spring, so while in English a play on words might seem to be at work, that kind of play on words was clearly not intended by the author.

So, what is in view? The singers and dancers, in context, seem to be a reference to the worshippers coming in to Zion, lifting their praises to God because they have been included in the great and eternal city of Jerusalem above. Such is implied with the repetition of those who were “born there” — reflecting a sense of belonging. This is strengthened by the ancient Greek translation of this passage, found in the LXX, which translates the Hebrew NÎyVoAm (ma’yan — “spring” or “fountainhead”) as katoiki/a (katoikia), meaning “dwelling place.” Thus, when the ancient Jews were seeking to communicate the sense of this verse to the Greeks, they emphasized the notion of dwelling in the city of Zion.

Yet, we would be remiss if we did not speak of the significance of the notion of fountainheads of water in the Christian life. Jesus presents himself as the source of living water (John 4:10) and later he says that if we believe in Jesus, out of us will flow living water as well (John 7:38), presenting a picture of the water flowing out of Jesus and into the life of believers and then out from us. In each case, it is Jesus who is the true fountainhead of living water. Indeed, even in Revelation, we see John borrowing from the imagery of Psalm 23 and presenting Christ, the Lamb of God, who shepherds his people and leads us to springs of living water (Revelation 7:17). Given the Messianic nature of this psalm, that it is Jesus and Jesus alone, who leads us into the Jerusalem above — true Zion — we should indeed see these words as that of the psalmist speaking for all true believers — “my fountainhead (of living water) is in you, oh Jesus!”

“You will say, in that day, ‘I will praise you, Yahweh, for you were angry with me, but your anger turned away and you repeatedly comforted me.’ Behold! God is my salvation, whom I trust. I will not fear. For my refuge and my strength are in the Lord Yahweh; He is my salvation. You draw water with joy from the fountainheads of the salvation. You will say, in that day, ‘Praise Yahweh! Call on his name! Make his deeds known to all the people — proclaim that his name is exalted! Praise Yahweh, for he has done illustriously — make this known in all the earth. Rejoice and cry out loud, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.’”

(Isaiah 12)

The Love of Money…

“And the servant brought out items of silver and items of gold, also garments and gave them to Rebekah. Precious gifts he also gave to her brother and to her mother.”

(Genesis 24:53)


For some reason, the ESV, the NIV, and the KJV translations have chosen to render the word yIlÚVk (keliy) as “jewels” or “jewelry.” The normal meaning of the word has little to do with jewelry one would wear but applies more generally to items, vessels, or implements that would be ornamented with silver or gold. These items might have consisted of anything from eating plates and utensils to a ceremonial knife or other things that might be so decorated. It is assumed by the translation committees of the aforementioned versions that because these gifts are being given to a woman along with clothing, so that they must be forms of jewelry. Yet such is an inference not necessitated by the text. Being as these are gifts given as a form of promise to Rebekah that she will be well provided for, to envision these things as ornate household items might be more appropriate.

What I find more interesting is that the things given to Rebekah are given with detail, but that given to her mother and brother are just generally noted as “precious gifts.” Clearly Eliezer has been well stocked with wealth on this journey and the gifts are meant to be understood as abundant treasures offered to her and to her family, but what is given to Rebekah is far more important than what is given to her family, noting once again that it is to Rebekah’s mother and brother gifts are given, not to her father, again implying that Laban is functioning more or less as the head of the household by this point in time.

You know it is interesting how we sometimes live with respect to earthly treasures. On one level, most of us in the western world work very hard to provide “good things” to our families but at the same time feel guilty about having good things when we realize the condition in which most of the world lives. We live a bit like Jekyll and Hyde in this way. Abraham was remarkably wealthy by ancient and modern standards. He had gold and silver in abundance, a secure place to lie down at night and rest, servants, animals, food, etc… And Abraham was not afraid to use his wealth to achieve his goals nor was he embarrassed about the way God had blessed him — his wealth was God’s doing, something that Abraham never lost sight of.

Scripture does not tell us that money is the root of all evils, but that the love of money is the root of all sorts of evils (1 Timothy 6:10). The question then is not so much the money, but where your heart is — or where your treasure is, for there your heart will be (Matthew 6:19-21). Ultimately, money is a tool. It is a tool we can use to help others and glorify God or it is a tool which we can use to harm ourselves. The question is how we use this tool today. Do we sit and dream of money so that we can live in the lap of luxury satisfying our desires? If so, one needs to put that money out of ones heart and hand. But do we recognize money as a tool that God can use in our lives not just to provide for our own needs, but to minister to others? If it is the latter, it will do good and not harm.

It has been estimated that if Americans would cut back on their Christmas purchasing by one-half and then use those funds to provide for others, we could provide clean drinking water for the entire planet all year long as well as put a Bible into the hands of every human being who does not have one. If every Christian church in America would have have a family who would adopt two children out of foster care (or two families each adopting one child…) then there would be no more foster children in our country — all would have Christian families. Similarly, if every Christian church in America would take in and provide for two homeless people, homelessness in America would be eradicated. But what do we do with our resources?

Jesus did not say that everyone needed to go and give all they had to the poor, that counsel was reserved for a man whose heart was bound by his wealth (Luke 18:18-30). At the same time, it is clear that some will be uncomfortable on how they have stewarded the blessings that God has given to them. May we be stewards that multiply the kingdom of God rather than multiplying our own comforts. The author of Hebrews writes:

“May the manner of your life not be marked by greed and be content with what you have, for he has spoken: ‘I will never leave you behind nor will I ever forsake you.’”

(Hebrews 13:5)