Music Monday: All My Fountains by Chris Tomlin (with help from John Newton)

Chris Tomlin’s “All My Fountains” is based on Psalm 87:7:

Singers and dancers alike will say,
“All my springs [or fountains, per the NIV84] are in you.”

The psalm is an excited celebration at the thought of being a part of God’s people. John Newton wrote a great song titled after verse 3, “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken.” It helps us get at what the psalm as a whole is conveying:

Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
He whose word cannot be broken
Formed thee for His own abode.
On the Rock of ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
Thou may’st smile at all thy foes.

See the streams of living waters
Springing from eternal love;
Well supplies thy sons and daughters
And all fears of want removes.
Who can faint while such a river
Ever flows their thirst to quench?
Grace, which like the Lord, the Giver,
Never fails from age to age.

Blessed inhabitants of Zion,
Washed in the Redeemer’s blood;
Jesus, whom their souls rely on
Makes them kings and priests to God.
Tis His love His people raises
Over self to reign as kings,
And as priests His solemn praises
Each for a thank offering bring.

Savior, if of Zion’s city,
I through grace a member am,
Let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in Thy name.
Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,
All his boasted pomp and show;
Solid joys and lasting treasures,
None but Zion’s children know.

For the sons of Korah (and John Newton and Chris Tomlin), the central reality of each of their respective songs is the blessing of God Himself calling you His own. In Psalm 87:6, Yahweh Himself registers the peoples, noting “This one was born there [in Zion].” Newton says it this way, “Savior, if of Zion’s city / I, through grace, a member am.” For Tomlin, it’s finding home and rest after the “dry and desert land.”

The songs also get at the soul-satisfaction found only in Jesus. To combine Tomlin and Newton: The worldling’s pleasure is a dry and desert land. I’m searching for a flood for my soul, a well that will never run dry–a stream of solid joys and lasting treasures.

The chorus of “All My Fountains” refers to Jesus’ own teaching about the soul-satisfaction only He can give. In John 4, Jesus offers the woman at the well living water, which can satisfy the thirst of her heart eternally; Jacob’s well can only satisfy physical thirst temporarily. “Everyone who drinks from this water [in Jacob’s well] will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again–ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life” (John 4:13-14 HCSB).

So, what Tomlin is leading us to sing in the chorus and bridge is this: Jesus, You alone give living water. You alone quench the thirst of my heart forever. You alone have a wealth of solid joys and lasting treasures. That’s why I come to You. Rain down on us, Lord, the cleansing water of Your hope, Your word, Your promises, Your truth. Open the Heavens; come, Living Water: You are the only place I can come to for life. Your fountains are my life, my cleansing, my refreshing.

It’s a great song (and terribly fun to play, too). May it encourage your hearts and spur you on to trust Jesus.

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