“The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; The fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.”
Proverbs 18:4 (NASB)
Do you enjoy being near water? For as long as I can remember, I have loved water. I don’t necessarily have to be in it, but I simply enjoy being near it. Cruising in a boat down the river, sitting on the beach while watching and listening to the waves roll in, feeling the mist blowing from a waterfall, and listening to the tinkling sound of a fountain are all favorites of mine. So when I came across the water imagery in Proverbs 18:4, I had to pause and let this verse sink in.
Before looking at the two images depicted in the verse, we must first understand that the verse describes a wise person, not just any person. Throughout the book of Proverbs we see that wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7, and 9:10). Wisdom is not man-made, but God-made.
The wise person’s words are described as deep waters. This image evokes the idea of profoundness, something that we, as humans, cannot generate on our own. Wise words come from the heart of God, rather than from our own shallow minds. Wisdom goes beyond what we can see. Consider the depths of the ocean where humans cannot go because of the crushing water pressure, complete darkness, and frigid temperatures. We cannot fathom what lies in this part of the ocean, just as the depth of true wisdom is more than we can understand.
The second image is a bubbling brook. While this brook is not deep, it remains in constant motion and its source of motion is a mystery. As long as there is water in it, a fountain continues to bubble forth and maintain life. Like a bubbling fountain, wisdom flows constantly from the heart of a wise person. Other proverbs including 10:11 and 13:14 depict wisdom as a fountain of life.
Can you think of a wise person you know, someone who speaks profound words and is a constant source of “speaking life” to you? Would you like to be that person who speaks life to others? Turn your heart to God and tap into the wellspring of true wisdom.