The Well of Holiness

G.K. Chesterton said, “Men may or may not expect an act of healing to take place at a holy well, but nobody expects it ten miles from the well”  (“The New Jerusalem,” Collected Works, Volume XX, p. 308).  Nobody except modern “Christian” men.

How often do you hear professing Christians claim just that?  They expect they have and can get the holiness of Christ apart from where that holiness is delivered.  They don’t expect it at the well containing the waters of everlasting life, the Church, they expect it apart from, outside of, without the well.  Without the well they expect water.  They expect the holiness of God in Christ apart from His three holies: Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution, and Holy Communion.

Four hundred years earlier Martin Luther said: “If I knew that God were in a certain place and would absolve me, I would not go to some other place, but would receive absolution in that place as often as I could” (AE, 36, 359).  Not modern man, not only does he expect the only healing that really matters, that of forgiveness, 10 miles from the well at the golf course, in his bed, on his boat, he actually thinks he gets it in these other places.

There is a well apart from the holy well of the Church but it is a bottomless pit.  The really tragic thing is that men free falling in it think they are flying.  It’s easy to do that in the dark, but when the lights go one, when the Sun of Righteousness dawns, then they’ll wish for the pit to close in on them to hide them.  It won’t.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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One Response to The Well of Holiness

  1. Bart Goddard says:

    Follow up article: The Hole of Wellness….

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