Zechariah 13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
Introduction: Author: Zechariah says he is the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo. Iddo was head of the priestly families coming back from exile (Neh 12:4,16). This would make Zechariah a priest and a prophet. It would also explain his emphasis on the temple and priestly matters in the book. Zechariah’s ministry began between Haggai’s second and third messages. If Haggai is talking about rebuilding the temple and Zechariah is writing about the same thing. The title of this book comes from the prophet’s name, Zechariah, which means “Yahweh remembers.” What does He remember? His covenant. “Iddo” means at the appointed time, and “Berechiah” means God will bless. God remembers and at the appointed time He will bless them. The names of the prophets are a summary of their messages. Because God remembers, there is hope for the people of Israel. God will remember His covenant with them recorded in Deuteronomy 28-30 and will keep His promises. Zechariah was written to comfort and encourage the returned remnant to repent of their evil ways, to return to the Lord, and to rebuild the temple. The people who had just returned from exile felt like their efforts were insignificant and the future was uncertain. They weren’t even an independent nation – just a client state of a mighty empire. Zechariah’s message focuses on the future and proclaims that God would send the Messiah to establish His Kingdom.
The situation in Palestine and in Jerusalem, in particular, was deplorable. These once great and proud people and their way of life had been destroyed. The Temple and the city walls had been reduced to rubble. Their enemies made fun of this fact.
Nehemiah 4:2 And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish which are burned?
10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.
Tens of thousands had died in battle, in the famine, and in the pestilence during the siege of Jerusalem. Tens of thousands more had been carried into captivity. Solomon’s temple was just a memory and only the elderly who returned with Nehemiah and Ezra could even remember its former glory. There is a very poignant moment in Ezra chapter 3 that describes the feelings of these older believers when saw the new temple:
Ezra 3:12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice…
They knew that their current circumstances were the result of their disobedience and rebellion. This is revealed in chapter 1 verses 1-6. They were in despair, they were despondent, and they were desolate and discouraged. The future looked bleak but then God sends them a message of hope in chapter 13 verse 1: The form of the message is a metaphor; “a fountain shall be opened for sin and uncleanness…” Let’s look at this “fountain” and see if it has any application for us today:
I. The availability of the fountain
a. The season
Jehovah has remembered His covenant and He declares that there would be a day of salvation and cleansing for His people. This is the day of the Lord when Messiah would come, “…and they shall mourn for me whom they have pierced…” He can be speaking of no one else. Notice how many times “…in that day…” appears in chaptes12-13. (9 times) The Lord is saying that they are not to give up hope that “…in that day…” He will pour out His spirit on them and furthermore “…in that day…” there would be a fountain.
b. The surety
“There shall be…” is the promise from Jehovah. It will happen. Ever since man sinned in the Garden God had been unveiling His ultimate remedy for sin. He gave His word in Genesis 3 that the “seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head” and for 6,000 years God had been waiting, waiting to keep that promise. Have you ever noticed that as Jesus taught and preached that He referred to “…His time not having come…” and that there came a day when He said, “…my time has come…” Jesus knew the Father’s promise because he was there when the sentence was passed on the guilty pair and the first Adam was driven out of the Garden.
c. The source
The Bible Dictionary (Heb. ‘ain; i.e., “eye” of the water desert), a natural source of living water. Palestine was a “land of brooks of water, of fountains, and depths that spring out of valleys and hills.”
Deuteronomy 8:7 For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;
These fountains, bright sparkling “eyes” of the desert, are remarkable for their abundance and their beauty, especially on the west of Jordan. All the perennial rivers and streams of the country are supplied from fountains and depend comparatively little on surface water. “Palestine is a country of mountains and hills, and it abounds in fountains of water. The murmur of these waters is heard in every dell, and the luxuriant foliage which surrounds them is seen in every plain.” Besides its rain-water, its cisterns and fountains, Jerusalem had also an abundant supply of water in the magnificent reservoir called “Solomon’s Pools” (q.v.), at the head of the Urtas valley, whence it was conveyed to the city by subterranean channels some 10 miles in length.
What comes to mind when you think of a fountain? When I think of a fountain the first thing that comes to mind is that it is a source of water and the connection between water and life. You cannot have life without water. Water to drink; to quench thirst; water to wash one’s hands and faces; to refresh and cleanse and water to make crops grow. In this metaphor, the emphasis is on the water for cleansing, and the cleansing mentioned is both internal and external.
II. The accessibility of the fountain
Notice that the prophet says that the fountain is open; that it is accessible. But there always has been a fountain open. There has always been a remedy for sin and it is revealed in type and symbol throughout God’s Word. That fountain was opened when God slew some animals and provided clothing to cover the nakedness and shame of Adam and Eve. It was opened in the book of Exodus when God instructed a captive people to slay a lamb and paint its blood on the doorposts of their homes so that when the death angel passed over Egypt that night he would “Passover” all those in that house, and in Leviticus when God instituted the system of sacrifices and offerings whereby people could come to the high priest at the tabernacle and later the temple and offer a sacrifice for their sin and uncleanness the fountain was open. Across hundreds of years and through millions of sacrifices God was declaring that the fountain was open till finally on a hill called Calvary God Almighty opened up the hands, and feet, and back, and brow and side of His one and only Son and blood mixed with water came out and He declared once and for all that there “is a fountain open!”
About our main verse, Clarke states: “The source of mercy in Christ Jesus; perhaps referring to the death he should die, and the piercing of his side, when blood and water issued out.”
One of the great hymns of the church states that “There is a fountain…
(1) “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
(2) The dying thief rejoiced to see That fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away
Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come to a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
III. The aim of the fountain
It is ironic that “Jehovah who remembers” will remember their sins and uncleanness no more. One commentary on this verse states:
a. It is open to the dry
Someone has said that Jesus started his earthly ministry hungry and ended his earthly ministry thirsty. When we think of Jesus on the cross the easiest of the seven words to understand is thirsty.
Have you ever heard someone say that they were as “dry as dust?” We often express our thirst in this way. Have you ever thought about the meaning of thirst?
ILL – Do you know the importance of water to our physical bodies? When our bodies fail to retain the right amount of water, dehydration sets in. It is the water in our body that determines the vitality, strength, and energy associated with daily living. Think about these facts associated with our body and water:
¨ª The human body is ¨ø water.
¨ª The body absorbs cold water faster than hot water.
¨ª By the time you are 70-years-old, you will have
required 1¨ö million gallons of water.
¨ª Studies show that increasing water consumption can decrease fat deposits. Water is a natural appetite suppressant.
¨ª If you lose 2% of your body’s water supply, your
energy will decrease by 20%. With a 10% decrease in water,
you will be unable to walk, and a 20% decrease — you’re dead.
Well, I think you get the point. And what is true of the physical is also true of the spiritual. Because God has made you with a spirit, soul, and body that get thirsty, if you fail to satisfy that thirst, your spirit, soul, and body will dehydrate and die!
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will let him take the water of life freely.
b. It is open to the dirty
This fountain is open for sin and uncleanness and there was certainly a desperate need for cleansing. The Jews had sunk as low into sin as one can sink. They had committed every kind of sin imaginable. They had worshipped idols and had even offered their own children as human sacrifices to Canaanite deities. They had blasphemed the One who had chosen them to be His people and He had punished them severely.