Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
Exploring Bible Verses
An exploration of Bible citations from the Christian Science Quarterly® Bible Lessons
“. . . a lesson on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends."—Mary Baker Eddy
from the Responsive Reading
Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
James, a respected Christian leader believed by many to be a brother of Jesus, shows his familiarity with the Master’s teachings in this verse. Early in his ministry, Jesus warns against false prophets with these words: “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Matthew 7:16). Here the writer uses this universal image to argue for consistency in Christian speech and actions.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
People of antiquity were well aware of such regular celestial changes as eclipses, the waxing and waning of the moon, and the differing brightness of stars. Similarly, pagan deities were believed to be changeable and fickle.
A commentator notes, “God is associated with light rather than darkness, with stability and consistency rather than change and alteration.”
from Section 1
2 | Isaiah 2:22
Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?
The man “whose breath is in his nostrils” appears in descriptions of Adam and of the entire race of people destroyed in the flood (see Genesis 2:7 and 7:22). According to one scholar, this man “is weak and short-lived, and ... has no control over his life.” He is not “to be accounted of” (Hebrew, hašab)—to be esteemed or regarded.
from Section 2
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.
Conversion to Christianity involves a thorough reorientation of thoughts, values, and goals. “Strip off the old self with all its activities,” writes a researcher. “Put on the new self, which is ever freshly renewed until it reaches fullness of knowledge, in the likeness of its creator.”
from Section 3
6 | Matthew 6:22
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
In both Jewish and Greek tradition, eyesight and light symbolize understanding or revelation. Jesus teaches that spiritual clarity (the eye that is single, meaning whole or sound) is like a brightly shining inner light. Confusion or laxness regarding spiritual things (the eye that is evil, v. 23) is mental darkness.
from Section 4
9 | Galatians 6:1
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness.
Counseling great patience and gentleness when correcting fellow Christians, the writer translates restore from the Greek word katartizō—a term that describes both the humble task of mending nets and the spiritual work of perfecting lives (see examples in Matthew 4:21 and Hebrews 13:20, 21).
10 | II Kings 5:12
Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?
Naaman’s national pride impels his objection to the muddy Jordan River—“the waters of Israel”—in contrast to the pure mountain streams flowing through Syria. Only when this great military leader drops his opinions and listens to his servants does he experience healing (see vv. 11, 13, 14).
Naaman’s story, usually cited as a lesson in humility, is also evidence of Yahweh’s power on behalf of Gentiles (see v. 15).
from Section 5
14 | Luke 15:11, 12
A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.
One source notes that it was acceptable for younger sons to take part of their inheritance to search for work in large cities. “The parable,” he continues, “was addressed to men who were like the older brother, men who were offended at the gospel.… Jesus vindicates his revolutionary conduct by claiming in the parable, ‘God’s love to the returning sinner knows no bounds.’ ”
from Section 6
16 | Acts 9:13
Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem.
Ananias models humble willingness to follow God’s lead despite his understandable reservations (see v. 17). A scholar explains that this account isn’t “a story about what God can do with the person I think is beyond God’s grace. It’s the Word of God that raises my expectations about the person from whom I expect nothing but the worst.”
To learn more about the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lessons, go to biblelesson.com.
Resources quoted in this issue
RR: Keck, Leander E., et al., eds. The New Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes. Vol. 12,Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, and 3 John, Jude, Revelation. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996–2001.
Cit. 2: Barnes, Albert. Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible. New York, 1834–85. Also available at biblehub.com/commentaries.
Cit. 4: Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible Series: The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1975.
Cit. 14: Jeremias, Joachim. The Parables of Jesus. London: S.C.M. Press, 1972.
Cit. 16: Peterson, Eugene H. Conversations: The Message with Its Translator. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2007.007
Related Healing Ideas
‘Ye are the light of the world’
Man is no dreamer, waiting for the dawn,
Slow twilight or sudden uprush of the sun.
Man is forever the individual radiance
Of God, the Father of lights, the unsleeping One.
Man is no strayed sheep, yearning for the fold,
No prodigal son, remembering his father’s house,
No traveler journeying to distant gates of heaven,
No voyager tossed on oceans perilous.
Man is unshadowed noon that wakes the dreamer,
Outshining the dark and all the dark contains.
Dreamer and dream are one; in hour of waking
These are found nothingness. The light remains.
Man is the pure, the innocent, the unstraying,
The unblemished lamb, the flawless image of God,
The son forever in his Father’s mansion,
Citizen within heaven’s gates, not on the road.
Man does not dream. It is his eternal nature
From glory unto glory to unfold.
This is the Christly fact that wakes the dreamer,
That, steadfastly acknowledged, breaks the hold
Of that dull slumbering sense which calls man mortal,
Dreamer, strayed sheep, sick, storm-tossed, wastrel son.
As full expression of light, we find man’s wholeness,
For light with the source of light is always one.
By Peter J. Henniker-Heaton
From the February 1954 issue of The Christian Science Journal
© 2019 The Christian Science Publishing Society. The design of the Cross and Crown is a trademark owned by the Christian Science Board of Directors and is used by permission. Bible Lens and Christian Science Quarterly are trademarks owned by The Christian Science Publishing Society. Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptural quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
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