Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 8, 1949
NUMBER 18, PAGE 6,8d

Re-Digging The Wells

Reuel Lemmons

"And Abimilech said unto Isaac, Go thou from us; for thou art much mightier than we. And Isaac departed thence, and encamped in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them." (Gen. 26:16-18)

The casual reader of this obscure passage in the Old Testament may wonder why God would take space in his precious book to tell about digging a well, filling it up with rubbish, and then re-digging it again. Undoubtedly the reason for this story being recorded in Holy Writ is that we may gain from it a lesson. Every occurrence written down in the Old Testament was recorded there for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages are come.

Water Of Life

This short story may be used to illustrate a lesson in spiritual things. Water has always been typical of life itself. Jesus said to the woman at Jacob's well, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." (Jno. 4:10) In the Revelation letter John said, "he that will, let him take the water of life freely." (22:17) Spiritual thirst and physical thirst have always been akin. Water is to the physical man what the word of God is to the spiritual man.

Drawing this figure more completely, Isaiah says, "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Give thanks unto Jehovah, call upon his name, declare his doings among the peoples, make mention that his name is exalted." (Isa. 12:3, 4) Undoubtedly this is a reference to the gospel dispensation, for the expressions, "call upon his name," "declare his doings," and "mention that his 'name is exalted" are all clearly prophetic. And the wells of salvation are symbolic of the water of life which is mentioned in the New Testament.

Abraham's Wells And Christ's

The wells mentioned in Genesis belonged to Abraham; he had digged them. They had been digged that they might provide water to satisfy the thirst of his servants and of his herds. That was the reason or purpose for which they had been digged. The wells did satisfy that thirst completely. But after a while the wells were filled up; the enemies of Abraham threw rocks, sticks, and dirt into the wells until they were filled with rubbish, and made useless. No man could drink from these wells now to satisfy his thirst.

After some years Isaac came again to this same region. He re-dug these wells of his father's, cleaning out all the trash and the rubbish which had been thrown into them. Once the wells were cleaned out, they provided water for both man and beast. Once again men returned and drank the water from these wells. It was the same thirst quenching, satisfying water which their fathers had drunk before them.

Many centuries after Abraham and Isaac had lived and died there came one Jesus of Nazareth down from the courts of God to dig in a dry, thirsty land; he provided a well of refreshing —a well of salvation. From it the thirsty souls of men have drunk the waters of everlasting life. In each life, death, and resurrection, Jesus perfected a scheme of redemption. He provided a well of salvation of which the human race might partake, and satisfy the thirst of the soul In the years that have passed since his death and triumphant resurrection, men filled with selfish motives, who love glory of men more than the glory of God, have filled the wells of Abraham. The traditions of men have replaced the laws of God; man's wisdom has been substituted for divine wisdom; and men have been directed elsewhere to drink other than at the fountain of life,

Modern Pollutions

For a thousand years, and more, the wells at which thirsting souls were advised to drink were not the wells which the Lord had dug. True, they did bear some resemblance to the ancient wells—but it was only a surface resemblance. They were so filled with the sticks and stones of human tradition that no soul could drink from them and quench his spiritual thirst. The waters of life were buried beneath the commandments of men; and many were deluded into thinking that they were drinking the water of life when in reality they were drinking strange waters.

This condition which prevailed during the thousand years and more known as the "dark ages", when Catholicism prevailed without a serious rival in all the earth is very little different today. For Protestantism presents to the world today a pandemonium of voices, each crying, "drink here," "drink there," and "it doesn't make, any difference where or when you drink." Many are deluded into thinking that the water they drink is the water of life, when in reality it is not. It is only the tradition of men, the teachings of erring men.

It does make some difference what you believe; and it does make some difference what you teach in religious matters. It does make a difference at which well you drink. It is useless to drink of a well that some man has digged, spiritually speaking, for its waters, though deceiving for a time, can never satisfy a spiritual thirst.

We must clean out the wells the Lord has dug, removing the sticks and stones of human traditions so that all may drink of the life giving water of life. It is time for us to go back past the reformers; back past denominationalism; back past the Dark Ages; all the way back to the crystal clear fountain released by the Lord himself in the first century of our present era.

We must remove from the wells of salvation all that has been thrown into them. And when every human creed has been removed and every human opinion has been expunged; when human names have all been repudiated, and the doctrines of men discarded, then we may all drink once again of the water of life, taking life-giving draughts from the stream of truth as it originally flowed from the teachings of our Lord and his apostles. When the work of restoration is done, we will have then the same fountain from which they drank, and in which their spirits were satisfied. In our hearts will be the same faith that characterized Christians of the New Testament church.

That faith will produce today the same repentance produced then. We will confess our faith, as they confessed theirs, and we will be baptized into the same into whom they were baptized. Then and only then the New Testament church be what it was in its original plan and purpose.


"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst righteousness, for they shall be filled."


"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.