Imagery is used quite often in the Bible to make a point. A lot of what Christ said to His followers were in the form of parables1. So it shouldn’t surprise us to find an analogy in the Proverbs that compares people to things.
Wisdom is often personified as a woman, and very often we see something compared to something else.
In the case of the passage we’re looking at today, “the wife of your youth” is compared to water, and there’s a good reason for it.
Drink water from your own cistern,
And running water from your own well.
Should your fountains be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
Let them be only your own,
And not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth. – Proverbs 5:15
Water brings refreshment. It is a source of life. And it’s also something that’s very territorial. Do you doubt me? Think about what happens in a drought. Perhaps not in the U.S., but in other countries you can see that when the water starts running out, people hoard it, protect it, defend it—it’s the very source of life itself.
Solomon urges his readers to drink water from their own cistern. What this means is that instead of seeking love (physical & emotional) from other women, seek in from your own wife. What’s neat is the description—drink water from your own cistern and running water from your own well.
Two different types of water sources:
- The still water, the peaceful water, the calming water.
- The running water, the passionate water, the water full of life.
Solomon says that this is available to the husband from his own wife, his own selection.
Should She Be Shared?
He then lectures the man not to turn his wife into a Seductress. This could be taken two different ways:
Do Not Prostitute Her
This should be obvious, but unfortunately we live in a culture that sometimes needs to be told the obvious. A husband should not use his wife as a commodity to get something else. He should not have her trade physical pleasure for gain. And I’m not simply talking about street walking. I’m also talking about climbing the corporate ladder. And I’m also not just talking about physical intimacy as flirting, and other sexual favors other than the most intimate act itself.
This is a tangent, I know, but I’m also talking about not treating physical intimacy as a bribe or a trade. Intimacy should be entered into out of love, not because of what you or she will get out of it. Withholding affection or intimacy in order to get something from your spouse is not loving.
Do Not Cause Her to Seek Love Elsewhere
Your love for her should be sufficient for her. Your love for her, your affection for her, should cause her not to have any want. She should not be desiring to bond emotionally or physically with anyone else. As this passage says, you should be regularly partaking of the “water” that she has to offer such that “there’s none left” for others.
That’s what I get when I read the next verses when it talks about her water running down the streets or being dispersed abroad. If you’re partaking of the water, there won’t be any left for this to happen.
Children Should Come From Your Union
Children have quite the impact on your relationship. They act to make it more stable—causing the man to be more invested in his family. They also have the effect of causing more wear on the relationship. But notice that children—the fountain—should be a cause of joy for the wife and the husband together. They should be working together toward raising their children.
There should be kids, and the kids should be a source of joy and unity and cause you to love your wife more.
Insulating Yourself from the Seductress
The Seductress’ charm will have little effect the more that you are invested in your family. She will not be able to penetrate the love of a man and a woman that are intimate—partaking of love from their appropriate and God-given sources on a regular basis. She will not be able to convince a man that giving up his family is worth what she offers.
Husbands and Wives, keeping up a intimate relationship (emotionally and physically) is important if we want to keep away the Seductress.
- Earthly stories with a heavenly meaning