The Inspiring Story Behind the Beloved Hymn “Come Thou Fount”

Written by on April 28, 2024

Written in 1757, “Come Thou Fount” has blessed Christians for centuries with its poignant words of praise and plea for grace. But what inspired this masterpiece, and how did it come to be recorded for posterity?

Origin in Personal Renewal: The hymn’s author, Robert Robinson, penned it during a time of spiritual revival in his life after years of prodigal wanderings. Converted at a religious society meeting, he poured out his joy, gratitude and devotion to Christ in this text. Seeing God’s bountiful mercy despite his waywardness, Robinson gave expression to redeeming love.

Melody from Italy: The rousing tune, NETTLETON, emerged separately in the 18th century. American revivalist Supply Belcher linked lyrics and music around 1826. Some trace the melody to medieval Gregorian chant or an old Italian drinking song, transformed into a vehicle for praise. Whatever its roots, the pairing of words and melody perfectly capture the human longing to return to God’s fountain.

Lasting Legacy: Published in an influential hymnal in 1836, “Come Thou Fount” quickly spread throughout churches thanks to its fusion of poignancy and passion. Its portrayal of salvation as an overflowing life-giving stream, Christ as the source of righteousness and sufficiency, and oneself as a debtor to grace touched countless souls. Translated worldwide, its revival of faith still stirs worshippers to dedicate their beings to the One who ransomed them from sin and death.

Relevancy Today: The hymn’s cry from thirsting soul to saving Lord resonates timelessly. Its opening summons, “Come thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing thy grace,” remains a prayer for spiritual refreshment. Its confession of brokenness and appeal for sanctification also speak prophetically to an age exploring identity and revival. Truly, God’s work of rebirth in Christ through this hymn continues anew in each generation.

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