The Bitter Waters

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John Newton, 1779, from Olney Hymns, vol. 1, hymn 13

Bitter, indeed, the waters are
Which in this desert flow;
Though to the eye they promise fair,
They taste of sin and woe.

2. Of pleasing draughts I once could dream,
But now, awake, I find,
That sin has poisoned every stream,
And left a curse behind.

3. But there's a wonder-working wood,
I've heard believers say,
Can make these bitter waters good,
And take the curse away.

4. The virtues of this healing tree
Are known and prized by few;
Reveal this secret, Lord, to me,
That I may prize it too.

5. The cross on which the Saviour died,
And conquered for his saints;
This is the tree, by faith applied,
Which sweetens all complaints.

6. Thousands have found the blest effect,
Nor longer mourn their lot;
While on his sorrows they reflect,
Their own are all forgot.

7. When they, by faith, behold the cross,
Though many griefs they meet;
They draw again from every loss,
And find the bitter sweet.

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