Why is the Wife Compared to a Cistern or a Fountain? (Prov 5:18; Song 4:15)
In a land that had not a lot of water, she would be something of tremendous value.
What is the Significance of One’s Own Cistern?
How many people would love to have pure water that was not someone else’s? This is the value of the wife, as something that nourishes the husband. The point is that there is a source of “water” for the husband, and that is where he should be seeking it. If he is looking for it elsewhere, or his wife ends up offering it elsewhere, it’s a shame to him.
What are the fountains or rivers of water? (Prov 5:16-17)
These are the children which are brought forth from the act of marriage. These are legitimate children, whom the husband can know are his because he has been faithful.
What is the Significance of the Fountain being blessed and Joy from Wife of Your Youth? (Prov 5:18)
A woman that would have the children of her husband was blessed. We can see this in the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and Rachel, Elkanah and Hannah. In each of these cases, the women felt that they were deficient because they did not bear offspring, and when they did then they felt worth.
The idea of “wife of his youth” has more than just “marry a young wife” embedded in it. It also refers to the fact that when you married you did marry young, and had a lifetime of intimacy together. This would mean that you’d have a tight bond—in contrast to the adulterous couple in other passages.
On Whom Should the Husband Fix His Affections and What Should Satisfy Him? (Prov. 5:19)
His affections should be affixed on his wife. The allusions would make more sense in the Eastern world at the time, but these were very high compliments. The idea is that his wife is the most attractive woman that he knows, and that he is not seeking out anyone else.
The problem here is that often in marriage, both men and women can let themselves go instead of continually seeking to be attractive to their spouse. They can use the excuse that they “have to love me anyway” to mean that they will not put any effort into their appearance. I don’t get that from this passage as much as I get that the husband should not be looking to be attracted elsewhere, for he should get all he needs sexually and visually from his wife.
This falls into the idea that the husband should be intoxicated with the love of his wife. He should have eyes only for her, and her love should be something that draws him to her. Attraction is powerful.