“There is a Fountain” is one of the best-known hymns of the past century. Written by William Cowper in 1772, the song is set to an early American folk tune.
Interestingly, the original text of the second stanza is different from what is found in most hymnbooks:
And there have I, though vile as he,
Washed all my sins away
This original text portrays justification as a past event, while the more common text (“and there may I… wash”) sets it in an evangelistic frame. Such textual variations often arose from the revivalist meetings of the early and mid-19th century, but here the original text stands as the testimony of a believer.
You can find a new congregational arrangement of the hymn here. It’s arranged for rhythm, violin, cello, and SATB. We’re singing it this Sunday, so we’ll hopefully be posting a video soon.