Charles Simeon Commentary - Zechariah 13:1 - 13:1

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Charles Simeon Commentary - Zechariah 13:1 - 13:1

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Zec_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.

THE various metaphors by which our Lord is described in Scripture, while they give just representations of him, are frequently calculated in a peculiar manner to impress the minds of those who heard them. This remark admits of the fullest confirmation from our Lord’s own discourses [Note: See Joh_6:35; Joh_11:25.]: it may also be illustrated by the prophecy before us. The Jews had heard of the wanderings of their ancestors in the wilderness; and they had themselves traversed a much larger tract of country in their return from the Babylonish captivity. To them therefore the tidings of a fountain to be opened would convey very strong and pleasing sensations. Nor shall we be unaffected by them if we lament our spiritual defilements.

We propose to consider,

I.       The meaning of the prophecy—

The Scriptures often mention a time under the expression “that day”—

[This expression sometimes refers to the apostolic, and sometimes to the millennial period. It is to be understood in this place as designing the former. That was a day in comparison of which all preceding ages were but as the morning dawn: then the mists of Gentile ignorance and Jewish superstition were dispelled before the Sun of Righteousness.]

At that period Christ was to be known under the notion of “a fountain”—

[Christ is frequently spoken of under the metaphor of a fountain [Note: Jer_2:13. Isa_12:3.]. He virtually applies the name to himself [Note: The Jews after their return from Babylon used on a certain day to fetch water in a joyous and triumphant manner from the pool of Siloam, in reference, it is supposed, to Isa_12:3. And on that day our Lord addressed them, and pointed them to himself as the true well of salvation, Joh_7:37-38.]. He is described nearly by the same character even in heaven [Note: Rev_22:1. The river, which John beheld, proceeded out of the throne of the Lamb.]. He justly answers to this description, having within himself an inexhaustible source of blessings.]

He was to be a fountain “opened”—

[From eternity was he as “a fountain sealed,” having in himself all fulness, before there existed any creatures to whom he might impart of it. Before his incarnation he afforded a scanty measure of his Spirit [Note: The meanest Christian is more enlightened than the greatest of the prophets, Luk_7:28.]. At the time of his death he properly became a fountain opened.]

The persons for whom it was to be opened were “the house of David,” &c.—

[“The house of David” are the spiritual seed of Christ [Note: He is the root as well as the offspring of David, Rev_22:16.]. “The inhabitants of Jerusalem” are the members of the Christian Church. Both together import all believers, high and low, rich and poor; none are excluded who wish to participate his blessings.]

The end for which it was to be opened was, to cleanse from “sin”—

[There had been fountains for ceremonial uncleanness [Note: There was a brazen sea, above fifty feet in circumference, and almost ten in depth, wherein the priests were to wash their hands and feet: there were also ten lavers wherein the things offered for sacrifice were washed, and from whence the water for the sprinkling of the offerers was taken, 2Ch_4:6.]. There were also fountains for the cure of bodily disorders [Note: The pool of Siloam, whither our Lord sent the blind man to wash, (Joh_9:11.) and which was typical of Him who was the Shiloh of the tribe of Judah, (Gen_49:10.) and eminently the sent of God. Compare Joh_9:7; Joh_6:38-40. Bethesda was still more appropriate to this use, Joh_5:2-4.]. But Christ was a fountain for moral defilement, and spiritual maladies.]

In due season this prophecy received its accomplishment.

II.      The completion of it—

From the incarnation of Christ this fountain was more fully exhibited: during his ministry its waters flowed in partial streams; but at his death it was fully opened:

It was broken open on the cross—

[In our Lord’s agony, the blood had flowed through every pore [Note: Luk_22:44.]: previous to his crucifixion his back had been torn with scourges [Note: Joh_19:1. Psa_129:3.]: the crown of thorns pierced his sacred temples [Note: Mar_15:17; Mar_15:19.]: his hands and feet were nailed to the accursed tree [Note: Psa_22:16.]; and his side, pierced with the spear, emitted blood and water [Note: Joh_19:34. This imported that he should cleanse both from the guilt and power of sin, 1Jn_5:6.]. Thus did men and devils concur in breaking open this fountain. The dying thief was made a monument of its cleansing efficacy [Note: Luk_23:43.].]

It was set open on the day of Pentecost—

[Then the Spirit was poured out in a more abundant measure: thousands, even of the murderers of our Lord, were cleansed by it. The effects produced were instantaneous and abiding [Note: Act_2:42-47.]: the blackest guilt was purged, the most ferocious natures changed. Nor was its influence to be confined any longer to one age or nation.]

It was left open in the promises to all succeeding generations—

[We may say of this fountain as St. Paul does of the Gospel [Note: Rom_10:6-8.]—. The word is the channel in which it flows: it has already spread its streams to the ends of the earth [Note: Rom_10:18.]: it will flow till that prophecy be fully accomplished [Note: Hab_2:14.]—: the invitations to it are yet sounding in the ears of all [Note: Isa_55:1. Rev_22:17.]—.]


1.       To those who expect salvation while they live in sin—

[If men could be saved in their sins, why was this fountain opened? Would God have given up his Son to death without necessity? or shall they who neglect the fountain be cleansed like those who wash in it? Let none deceive their own souls: to wash in this fountain is the one thing needful. They who cry with the leper, shall receive the same answer [Note: Mat_8:2-3.]—.]

2.       To those who hope to cleanse themselves in some other way—

[Many hope to wash away their guilt by tears of repentance. But would God have opened this fountain, if any other would have sufficed? How lamentable that there should still be such cause for those expostulations [Note: 2Ki_5:13.]—! Let those who say like Peter, remember the answer given him [Note: Joh_13:8.]—.]

3.       To those who doubt whether they may come to this fountain—

[Many imagine that the greatness of their guilt is a bar to their acceptance; but the fountain was opened for sin and for uncleanness. What would have been the effect of such hesitation at the pool of Bethesda [Note: Joh_5:4; Joh_5:7.]? Be it remembered that all, who have a need, have a right to wash: let every one then press forward, lest he lose the blessing.]

4.       To those who have experienced its cleansing efficacy—

[It is in you that the efficacy of this fountain must be seen. Let it appear that it has cleansed you from earthly and sensual desires. But still you have need to wash in it daily [Note: We contract defilement every step we take. Bishop Beveridge justly observes, “Our very tears need to be washed, and our repentances to be repented of.”]. This do, and you shall soon join in that triumphant song [Note: Rev_1:5-6.]—]