Teaching Sons About Marriage
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, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. Proverbs 5:15-18
Water is a frequent metaphor in the Bible for the intimacy of love and romance between a husband and wife. With even a casual reading of these verses in Proverbs we can tell that Solomon, the author, isn’t writing about a literal stream or a leaky faucet. He is talking about the physical connection between a man and woman, a husband and wife.
“Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well” means to keep your love at home. If you don’t, your streams may run into the public squares. That is, if you are unfaithful at home, your spouse may be as well. If you are sharing your love with another, she may do the same.
“Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers.” Her streams of water, her love and emotional devotion, belong to you, Solomon says. So, spend your energy at home, devote yourself to the love of your wife, and you will both have a fountain to sustain you through all the years of your married life.
Photo From Amy Free Photgraphy
Solomon even says, “May your fountain be blessed, and may your rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Fountain here could be the love relationship between you. It could also refer to the birth of children. If you keep your love at home, and your wife does the same, your fountain, your relationship, will be blessed with children. Your children. And through the years of learning about each other, raising children and sending them out into the world, you and your wife will still share that cistern between you. Your love can endure, even flourish, and years later you can still delight in each other.
I shared these verses recently with someone who doesn’t have a strong belief in the Bible. He listened to my explanation and when I was done he smiled dismissively and said, “That’s cute. Those are cute verses.” I asked him if he had ever seen a grown man cry. He hadn’t. I said, “I’ve seen men lay out on the floor weeping in pain and sorrow when they didn’t listen to the advice of these verses. Some drank from other cisterns. Some saw their streams overflow into public squares, meaning their wives didn’t keep their love at home either. Then there was the painful aftermath and the gut-wrenching questions of, “Can we forgive each other? Can we make this work? What affect will it have on the children?” These verses aren’t just cute; they are matters of life and death.
Note who is speaking in these verses. Chapter 5:1 begins, “My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight.” “My son” could be a literary device that refers not to a father and son, but to a teacher and student. It might simply be a way of establishing a sense of intimacy so that the student of wisdom and the reader of this book will feel the concern of the teacher and listen more intently. Or, it could be that it really is a father teaching his son some of the incredibly important lessons of life.
If that is the case, then what we have is a father trying to teach his son how to build a life and a home that is stable and secure and will be able to withstand the passage of time. “Son, none of this sowing wild oats stuff. That may eventually produce a crop you don’t want to harvest. Save your love until marriage, then keep it at home. Go only to your wife. Learn to care for her deeply, and that will encourage her to keep her love at home, too. Devote yourselves to each other, providing a secure environment for your children. Do these things, son, and as the years of life pass by, you’ll find you still delight in the wife of your youth. Though she is 50, 60, or 70 years old one day, she will still be the wife who enthralled you in your youth. Be faithful to her.”
Cute, yes? But much more. It is the heart of a father concerned for the safety, home and spiritual life of his beloved son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. So, he is teaching him to function as a real man in the home. Fathers, should we do any less today?