Drink water from your own cistern And fresh water from your own well.Proverbs 5:15(NASB)
Solomon advised his son to "drink water from your own cistern, and draw fresh water from your own well". Although this counselling in good morals and ethical behaviour can be applied to any area of life, its focus in this passage is sexual purity and integrity in marriage. In it, we are warned not to stray from the path of chaste virtue, or flirt with the alluring lust of the roving eye or the beckoning appetites of our fallen fleshly nature.
Solomon's advice to his son is to gain wisdom in every area of life, but in this passage he specifically lays out guidance in preserving sexual purity in marriage. He expounds personal piety in our intimate relationships, while eschewing the evils of adultery - or any other of her saucy sisters or covetous cousins - flirtation; fornication; entanglements; infidelity; disloyalty; pornography - or many other of the descriptive words that illustrate such ungodly behaviour.
Tantalising temptation invades our personal space in many ways. It is not simply the person we meet on the street or at a conference, but on the TV screen, the computer monitor and in the dark recesses of our corrupted minds. How vital to cultivate a clean heart and let the mind of Christ dwell in us richly, so that we are not enticed to drink water from another cistern. Forbidden water may taste sweet for a moment but leaves the bitterest after-taste for the duration of one's entire life.
Solomon gives specific warning against the oily allurement of the prostitute or adulteress, and delineates the enormous price of infidelity, while commending the delights of monogamous matrimony and loving loyalty between a husband and his wife - who pledge to love, honour, respect and cherish one another - "until death separates this God-ordained union.
The figurative language of water in Solomon's illustration is well-chosen. Water taken from one's own cistern or freshly drawn from one's own well is clear; clean; refreshing and satisfying while that which is stolen from another's supply becomes bitter; tainted; poisonous and deadly. The evils of sexual sin and the terrible consequences that accompany them can be traced throughout Scripture.
Paul tells us to flee from sexual sin and to not allow sexual promiscuity, or impurity of any kind be mentioned among God's people, reminding us that the man who commits a sexual sin is sinning against his own body. He also points out that Satan seeks to tempt us through a lack of restraint of sexual desire - listing sexual sin along with impurity; passion; evil desire and greed - all of which he labels as idolatry.
Knowing that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit and that the Spirit of God dwells within each one of us should be more than enough to cause us to flee from every vestige of sexual sin, and to shun sexual advances from the world outside... and outlaw any infiltration of idolatry from within.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the many things I can learn from the amazing book of Proverbs. I realise, from Solomon's instruction to his son, the serious nature of sexual promiscuity and the terrible consequences of indulging in this ungodly activity. Help me maintain inner purity of heart and live a life of godly virtue, that flees from every fragment of sensual allurement. Thank You for my own close, personal relationships in marriage and beyond, and may my delight be to draw fresh water from my own well and never seek satisfaction from broken cisterns and the brackish water they contain. Help me to live a life that honour Your holy name - this I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.