Psalm 87 concludes with these words: “all my springs are in thee.” The abruptness and brevity of the conclusion are at once provocative and somewhat mystifying because the psalmist neither elaborates nor explains. He simple concludes with this comment, as if to say, “Here is everything you need to know about me and everything you should be able to say about yourself: “all my springs are in thee.”
My springs. There is something particularly exciting about a spring. In the woods behind the parsonage in Virginia where I grew up there was a spring. I remember the excitement I felt the first time I discovered it. All around the forest floor was covered with years’ worth of vegetation and the normal accumulation of leaves and fallen branches. But seemingly out of nowhere in the midst of all that vegetation bubbled up a fountain of water. Gravel lined the bottom of the pool that could be seen as clearly through the water as through glass. I recall it as the coolest, clearest water I’d ever seen or tasted. To be able to freely drink that water out in the middle of nowhere seemed an unending treasure, and I felt a secret richness to know about and to be able to tap into that supply any time I wanted to. Now for me, that spring in Virginia was a novelty. In the east where the writer of our text lived, however, a spring was a necessity; it might mean the difference between surviving and prospering, even between life and death.
All my springs. The writer is as expansive as he can be. “All my springs are in thee,” he declares. Not many, not most, but all. He does not draw most of his life from the spring, but a little from a well or a cistern. No, all his life springs from only one fount. He found all his joy in that spring. He took all his comfort from that spring. All his refreshing flowed from that one spring. His entire life came from that one spring. And so he must situate near it, not depart from it, draw from its cold, clear, refreshing supply many times a day. He had no other source of life-giving water to sustain him. Others might try to quench their thirst in the brackish waters of a cistern or the muddy waters of a wadi. But he drank from one source and refreshed his family and livestock from one source: that single spring.
In thee. We understand from these two words that the writer is speaking metaphorically and referring to his life in the Lord. All his springs are in the Lord. Neither family nor fortune sustains him. Position and privilege do not satisfy him. His hope is in the Lord. His joy is in the Lord. His comfort is in the Lord. His satisfaction is in the Lord. His strength is in the Lord. His life is in the Lord. Had he everything but the Lord, he would have nothing. Had He nothing but the Lord, he would have all, for all his springs are in the Lord. An earlier psalm, like this one, also titled “For the Sons of Korah,” expresses a similar theme: “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the most High” (46:4). To be in that tabernacle and to dwell in the holy place is the chief delight and desire of the psalmist.
And what of us? Can we sing truthfully that “All that thrills my soul is Jesus”? Or do find our genuine joy in family, or work, or hobbies? Is the Lord our life? Is He our All in all? Is there something or someone that we desire more than we desire Him? Are we satisfied with only some of our springs being in Him? Salvation, yes. Eternal life, yes. But we have a life of our own to get on with down here. Does it strike us as being a trifle fanatical to speak in the terms expressed in this psalm? The truth is that we should draw all our energy from Him. We should receive all our direction from Him. We should give all our devotion to Him. And we should live all our life for Him. To do less will not necessarily keep us out of heaven (after all, salvation is God’s work, not ours), but it will dishonor the One who loved us and gave Himself for us. It will be a disavowal of the truth that we are not our own. We will fail to glorify the One who died to redeem us, and our lives will be characterized by a lack of faithfulness in and power for service, and an absence of peace and joy in our daily lives. All blessings spring from the Lord, so why should we look for another source when He alone is the repository of everything good, glorious, and eternal? My prayer is that you and I may be able to say “all my springs are in thee.”
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