There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And any plunged beneath that flood
Will be purged of all that is bane.
I have just finished reading the latest novel from a favorite author of mine, Ted Dekker. The book’s title, Immanuel’s Veins, immediately drew my thoughts to that song I quoted above. Dekker apparently had the same song in mind while he was writing, as it is quoted several times throughout the book (including the segment I included above; it’s on the last page). I estimate I spent three hours on the 366 page book, and I can tell you that those hours were worth it.
Immanuel’s Veins is a love story at its core. It is a fantastical thriller on its cover. It is a parable in my perspective. It caused me to consider my own relationships as I read Dekker’s paradigms as spoken by the characters. It made me think about Jesus’ love for me, and the actions He took to save me from the evil one. As you can tell, it’s still messing with my mind.
At the apex of the story Toma, the protagonist, is in the evil Vlad van Valerik’s castle attempting to rescue his love, Lucine. Toma is being held by the neck by van Valerik against a large stone crucifix that is the center of a dry fountain. van Valerik has crushed Toma’s hopes by convincing him that Lucine is beyond loving Toma, as she has given herself to van Valerik. Lucine then enters holding a book that Toma had read that told the truth of who van Valerik was and how to defeat him (the details of which I will not give, read the book yourself). She apparently has quickly read it, and has recognized Toma’s true love for her as better than the selfish, controlling, lust van Valerik had for her. van Valerik furiously beats her, testing whether Toma loves her for her looks only. When it is apparent that Toma loves her truly, van Valerik again pins him to the crucifix and slashes his wrists, allowing the blood to run into the fountain’s pool. Conveniently, the fountain is in an open-roofed room and it’s raining buckets (making the fountain pool fill with water and blood). For various reasons (again, read the book), Lucine plunge herself in the aqueous mix to save herself from van Valerik. When he reaches after her, Toma is released. Toma quickly grabs a sharpened stake, kills van Valerik, and collapses into the pool.
This was one of the most intense, yet tender, scenes I have ever read from Dekker, and I saw the Passion of the Christ in every action and dialogue. Dekker seems to have a firm grasp on the meaning of the cross, the love poured out there, and what part looks like in accepting it. To him (and I believe him to be right), we are not saved from Hell because Jesus is just so loving. We are saved from the clutches of Satan because there is a war over our souls; over us. Jesus could save us by His own divinity, but He lets us choose the outcome of the battle of each of our individual souls. The battle is not a battle of strength; it is a battle of wooing. Who will you believe has true love for you?
Now I don’t believe exactly that Satan had Jesus almost beat when he put Him on the cross. In fact, I believe Jesus put Himself on the cross out of love. However, Toma isn’t Jesus exactly, so I will refrain from treating the story as a completely theologically sound allegory.
I do believe that to save ourselves from the evil that continually tries to woo us away from true Love, we must plunge ourselves under that crimson fountain, daily even. The blood of the Lamb is that which redeems and cleanses us. However, when we are saved we are not automatically wholly His. There is yet a flesh, a remnant of the old us, which requires daily slaying, lest we return to lesser lovers (Dekker touches on this in his Circle Series).
As I look back on the recent past, I see myself in the Prayer Room for six hours at a time communing with God (most of the time; I can get distracted easily) for 6 straight months. Now I’m home, and I see myself wanting to do things for my family and others with unrequited service (however, I would certainly appreciate some reward). It’s like I picked up a habit from Jesus. He did not come because anybody asked Him to. He did not make a way for us to be redeemed because we asked Him to. He did not offer His hand of love because He was asked. He did it out His love for us, and told us the way to receive it. It’s up to us to give Him the reward of His sufferings. What is that reward? Our souls.
So come with me. Let’s dive in under that crimson surface and give ourselves to true, cleansing love.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring…
-Isaiah 53:10 (ESV)
“Which of ye will be mortal to redeem
Man’s mortal crime, and just th’ unjust to save,
Dwells in all heaven charity so dear?
He asked, but all the heavenly choir stood mute…
…the Son of God,
In Whom the fullness dwells of love divine,
His dearest meditation thus renewed.
“Father, Thy word is passed, man shall find grace…
Behold Me then, Me for him, life for life
I offer, on Me let Thine anger fall;
Account Me man; I for his sake will leave
Thy bosom, and this glory next to Thee
Freely put off, and for him lastly die…”
–Paradise Lost by John Milton