Remembering ALL Our Roots

This is a season of reflection at The Barking Fox.  Part of the reason is getting settled at last in our new home in North Carolina.  There is no hiding the fact that I am a Southern boy, with roots growing to a depth of 200 years in Alabama and nearly three centuries in the Carolinas.  Hopefully I will have opportunity to explore those roots and share any findings that would be of interest to others.

bfb160918-keith-greenWhat has reminded me of a central part of my roots has been the opportunity to listen to worship music that has ministered to my soul for as long as I have been on this earth. Recently I shared one of those songs by the late Keith Green.  Now I share another:  an old hymn made new again as I pondered its meaning.  

In the Baptist Hymnal on my bookshelf its is called There Is a Fountain.  The lyrics come not only from Scripture (Zechariah 13:1), but from the life experience of William Cowper, an Englishman who penned these words in the same era that my Scottish-American ancestors began their contribution to the history of this continent. 

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains
Lose all their guilty stains
Lose all their guilty stains
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day
And there may I, though vile as he
Wash all my sins away
Wash all my sins away
Wash all my sins away
And there may I, though vile as he
Wash all my sins away

Ever since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die
And shall be till I die
And shall be till I die
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die

Those who do not share the Christian experience of salvation by grace may find it hard to grasp the depth of these words.  Those who do share that experience recognize in them the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Yeshua haMashiach).  No one but YHVH can forgive the sins of a rebellious humanity, and no one but YHVH can overcome the ordeal of paying the debt those sins incurred.  That is why I accept the claims of Yeshua that He is Messiah, Son of the Almighty God, and why I cannot be persuaded to leave Him. 

How is this old hymn new to me?  Because now, after years of seeking how Law and Grace fit together, I have come to understand a paradox:  the Torah (Law) led me to Jesus, just as Scripture says (Romans 7:7-12, 10:4; Galatians 3:23-29), even though I did not know it was that perfect Law of God which did this.  But then something else happened:  Jesus – Yeshua – led me to the Torah, just as Scripture says (John 8:39; Romans 3:31, 12:1-2; Ephesians 2:8-10).  

What else is the point of the “New Covenant” (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-12) but that this living, perfect, unchanging standard of righteousness which my Jewish brethren call Torah and my Christian brethren call the Law becomes our daily standard of life?  No one can keep this standard without the heart change made possible by God Himself paying the penalty of sin and death and opening the way for every human being to enter into relationship with Him.  

That is the hard part for Him; the hard part for us is growing in that relationship on His terms – and that is the continuing role of Torah.

The paradox comes in two parts.  The first is that my Jewish brethren know how we are all supposed to live, but they do not recognize the One who has made that possible.  The second is that my Christian brethren know the One who has made it possible to become part of YHVH’s covenant family, but do not recognize the standard by which YHVH’s family is supposed to conduct themselves.

What, then, are we Torah-keeping Yeshua followers to do?  First, we love our brethren, knowing that we have far more in common with those on both sides than we have differences.  Second, we rejoice in the work of our Messiah, praying that the fullness of His atonement will be revealed to our brethren on both sides.

This is not merely an intellectual exercise.  It is spiritual – just like Grace, and Law, and Love.  Nothing speaks to the spirit better than music, which is why the old hymns are still powerful.  Here is an offering which speaks to this:  a rendition of There Is a Fountain by the contemporary Christian group 4Him.

And it should be no surprise, since this is a post about roots, that 4Him comes from Alabama, the place of my roots.



© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2013-2016.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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About Albert J. McCarn

I am a lifelong disciple of Jesus (Yeshua) of Nazareth, an avid student of the Bible, a devoted husband and father, a 29-year veteran of the United States Army, and a historian who connects people with their own stories.

7 responses to “Remembering ALL Our Roots”

  1. Sabba AbuShy says :

    It is like Paul said, “Brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you become wise in your own conceits. That blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles (‘melo ha goyim’ :Genesis 48:19—“a multitude of nations” e.g. like the catch of fish {which became a symbol of Christianity} that the disciples could not pull in) comes in.” Romans 11:25. We cannot “pull ourselves in”; That is YHVH’s job and we can feel the tugs on the net of our hearts. Yet we can repent (which also means to return/make Aliyah) Repent Daughter of Zion!


  2. sandy eubank says :

    it is page 37 in the Broadman Hymnal
    I am sad so many coming behind us will never hear these
    songs,I also was raised on them.


  3. Priscilla Reid says :

    Really enjoyed this version of the old hymn, thanks, Al! I’ve gotta say though, that i needed to take a hard look at the words of it a few years back, but we made peace, ha!


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