First Reading: Zechariah 12:10-11, 13:1

The Mourning and the Fountain

12:10 I will pour on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they will look to me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and will grieve bitterly for him, as one grieves for his firstborn. 12:11 In that day there will be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.

13:1 “In that day there will be a spring opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.

World English Bible

These verses came from an appendix added to the book of the prophet (Chapters 1-9). Titled “An Oracle,” these verses described the end time battle for Jerusalem. According to the Oracle, every nation would come to fight against Jerusalem. But the inhabitants of the city would be victorious.

Then, in 12:10, the Lord would pour his Spirit upon the inhabitants, a Spirit of compassion. They would grieve for the “wounded one.” The identity of this person or group was not clarified by the text. Nor did the text explain why the person or group was wounded. We can only speculate the “wounded one” could have been a executed prisoner.

The general nature of the grieving and the depth of mourning indicate the popularity and high status of the “wounded one.” The phrases “only child” and “first born son” indicate the loss of royalty.

This mourning would be compared to the ritual mourning to the Syrian gods Hadad and Rimmon at a temple in Megiddo.

After the mourning, a fountain would appear for ritual baths. In this fountain, the populace would become “clean.” Hence, they could offer fitting worship to YHWH. After the announcement of the fountain, the text continues with a diatribe against prophets; they would have no function in the city after the cleansing, for the people would be close to God.

The images in these verses dovetail very well with the Christian view of Jesus and the results of his suffering and death. Christians believe his death was the beginning of the end times. The mourning was for God’s only Son. The fountain for ritual baths was an archetype for Baptism.

As Christians, we ritually grieve for the Lord on Good Friday and rejoice for his Resurrection on Easter. We celebrate both in Baptism. The images in these verses remind us of the roots of our faith and the ways we worship.

What do the images in these verses help you reflect on your faith and worship?