There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood
DESCRIPTION: "There is a fountain filled with blood Drawn from Immanuel's veins, And sinners plunged beneath that flood Lose all their guilty stains. The thief dying (by Jesus) repents. The singer will exalt Jesus's redeeming love until he dies
AUTHOR: Words: William Cowper (1731-1800)
EARLIEST DATE: 1952 (High)
KEYWORDS: Jesus death religious nonballad
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
High, pp. 34-35, "There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood" (1 text)
Warren-Spirit, pp. 258-260, "There Is a Fountain" (1 text, 1 tune)
cf. "There Is a Fountain" (theme)
NOTES: Roud lumps this with "There Is a Fountain," but to me they look like separate songs; there are few lyrics in common. Given that the idea is basic to Christianity, it could easily have occurred to two writers, so I have split the songs.
The repentant thief is described in Luke 23:39-43; the blood flows from Jesus's side in John 19:34 (although there are other references to Jesus's blood, or to the Blood of the Lamb).
For background on William Cowper, see the notes to "God Moves in a Mysterious Way." John Julian, editor, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes), p. 1160, reports, "This hymn was probably written in 1771, as it is in Conyers's Coll[ection] of Ps[alm]s and Hy[mn]s, 1772, in 7 st[anzas] of 4 l[ines]. It was republished in the Olney Hymns, 1779, B[ook] i, No. 79, with the heading 'Praise for the Fountain opened.' It is based on Zech. xiii.1, 'In that day there shall be a Fountain opened to the house of Davis and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.... A well known form of this hymn is 'From Calvary's Cross a Fountain flows.'" Julian goes on to note the many revisions made to the poem over the years.
Although the tune is sometimes attributed to Lowell Mason, who apparently wrote a tune "Cowper" that is used for the piece, William Reynolds, Companion to Baptist Hymnal, Broadman Press, 1976, p. 219, says that it is most unlikely that Mason wrote the usual tune for this song. - RBW
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