“Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed . . .” (Prov. 5:15-18a)
Does this passage puzzle you as much as it did me when I read it? After all, what could possibly be wrong with drinking water that someone else has given to you? And certainly there is nothing wrong with sharing a glass of water with someone else!
Of course, if you read it in context, Solomon is advising against the evils of adultery, a vital lesson to be learned! But as I contemplated these verses, a second potential meaning was impressed upon me. Reference to springs of water, streams of water, cisterns of water, etc are not uncommon in the Bible, and these terms have often been used in Scripture to represent the Holy Spirit: “. . . the Lord, the spring of living water.” (Jer. 17:13), “Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10), and “Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him would later receive” (John 7:38,39)
Could this passage be subtly teaching us an important lesson about a friendship with Jesus? Could this be suggesting that we cannot experience the Holy Spirit without a personal relationship with Jesus? That we can’t experience the Holy Spirit through someone else? Likewise, could this be saying that we can’t be the source of the Holy Spirit for someone else, and therefore, we shouldn’t even try?
Yet how many sincere Christians try to get all of their spiritual drink from outside sources? From churches, pastors, sermons, etc., always taking the interpretation of someone else without bothering to take it back to God for verification?
Some time ago I was studying with sincere lady who had expressed a sincere desire to have a personal friendship with God. We met together, at this lady’s request, once a week, and she listened hungrily to what I had to say. However, when she heard something that didn’t “jive” with what she had learned in the past, she simply dismissed it. When she was encouraged to take the time to study on her own, she always found some excuse not to do so. She was trying to drink water from other sources! I don’t wish to sound too harsh, for much of this was my own doing. You see, I was trying to “force” my own understanding of the Bible on her, fully expecting her to accept it because I said it was gospel truth! And guess what? It didn’t work! The poor lady ended up more and more frustrated, and even worse, she moved farther and farther away from her own personal friendship with Jesus! Why? Because I was allowing my “springs” to “overflow in the streets”! I was trying to “share” my water with her, when what I should have been doing was trying to direct her to have her own personal “cistern, running water from [her] own well”!
We cannot be, nor should we try to be, the source of “water” for anyone. Instead, our God-given role is to guide others into a personal relationship with God so that they will find their “own cistern, running water from [their] own well”. Neither can we accept another human being as a source of “water” for ourselves! We must have that personal friendship with Jesus in order to be able to “Drink water from your own cistern”, as Solomon advises us to do! We must take everything we read or hear—in Bible school, in church, in inspirational books, from Christian friends, from our pastors—back to God for verification through Bible Study and Prayer.
Lord, I want You to be my only source of water! Give me wisdom to be able to guide others to their own sources of that wonderful water that each of us needs!
In His love,