- Dr. Stieglitz
Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 5:15
"Drink water from your own cistern and fresh water from your own well"
The next nine verses are a metaphorical picture of sexual enjoyment between a testosterone-laden young man and his wife. This picture is highly erotic but also deeply poetic rather than vulgar. The sexual imagery and beauty of the interaction between a man and his wife are all captured here without being lascivious and vulgar. This poetic and stylized description of the connection between a man and his wife is important because sexual love ceases to be love – especially for the woman – when it becomes a technical description of how the various parts interact or when vulgar, aggressive, and rapacious descriptions are used to describe the action.
The phrase drink water goes in a number of directions but is clearly a reference to the need and pleasure of sexual interaction with one's wife. It is important for a wife to realize that a man has a need for sexual connection that is as strong as his need to drink water. It is his job to control it, but it is her privilege to help fulfill it. Many, if not most, women do not have the strong need for sexual fulfillment that the typical man has; but it is important for women to understand that their husbands do. If she turns him away repeatedly because she does not have the need or interest, then she is not being sensitive to the difference between men and women and is potentially destabilizing her marriage.
One drinks water to quench a deep thirst. So a husband engages in sexual relations with his wife to quench a thirst. The burning fire that is sexual passion should be put out by your companion of covenant not by streams in the street. The allusion here to drinking is to putting out the burning fire of sexual passion. Even as the Apostle Paul connects in 1 Corinthians 7:9 when he talks about the ability to be single or the burning with passion precluding that privilege. If you are burning with passion, then get married and quench that burning.
In the Song of Solomon 4:15 the bride is called a stream and a garden spring – in a sense a river quenching the passion of the sexual impulse.
A wife and the satisfaction of married love are referred to a cistern and a fountain. Both were high treasures for a people dwelling in the Middle East. The cistern collected the water that ran off from the rains. A cistern was usually an underground storage facility where rain water was directed and protected from evaporation by being underground or sealed in some fashion – stored water for drinking later in the summer when all the streams had run dry. A fountain was called living water – fresh and life sustaining. So a wife's sexual satisfaction is a stored provision that is deeply satisfying; and she is also a life-giving, fresh, and new experience. All of this takes place without guilt in the context of marriage as well as the quenching of the fires of passion that burn within the heart of a young man.
It is the wise wife who figures out the cycle of her husband’s needs to have the fire quenched and the nutrients of love carried by a willing woman wanting her husband.
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