"Like cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land"
This is an interesting proverb in that it is surely true, but there does not seem to be anything one can do about making it come true.
But its action is hidden in the words distant land. If one is going to hear good news from a distant land, then one must have had some initial contact with the distant land, made some proposal, started something going.
This proverb does bring up a whole study of which Solomon only gives one piece of information about – and that is how does one refresh one’s soul. The greatest form of tiredness is soul-weariness. If your body is tired, you can just rest for a few days and eat right and you will be great. But if your soul is weary, you need to know how to refresh and rebuild it or you will become zombie-like.
This is the Hebrew word ayep which means faint, exhausted, weary. It is translated also as famished and parched.
The Septuagint reads like cold water to a thirsty soul. There are times when your soul thirsts for good news – something to pin hope upon. Our mind, will, and emotions can be worn down from people, situations, and decisions we must make.
When our soul is in a weary condition, we need to refresh it. Just as when our body is thirsty we need to give it what it needs – cool water. This is obvious but we forget this on a regular basis. We just expect our soul to be refreshed on its own. We expect it to be re-energized with nothing new added. A little sleep and it will be fine. This is not true. Just as the body needs food, so the soul thrives on good news. You can sleep all you want but if you do not put in new fuel, there will not be any new energy. Your soul runs on hope, dreams, plans, etc.
Weariness comes from too much work without rest and refreshment or being beaten on without a way of protecting yourself – both must be guarded against. Your internal you – which is your soul – needs to be strengthened and energized in the same way that your body needs food and drink. Make sure that there is enough soul food and soul rest moving into your life. For it is a hard thing to be weary in your soul without an expectation of being refreshed.
This phrase is made up of two Hebrew words tob which means good, pleasant, agreeable. It is also translated as happy, beautiful. The second word is shemuah which is the word report, message, news.
This is the Hebrew word merchaq which means distant place or far away, remote place.
This is an interesting reference to a place different from the place where you are currently – outside of your present context. The idea here seems to be that when agreeable news comes from outside of the present situation you are in, it is especially refreshing. It suggests that the world is not the shrunken, draining context that you find yourself in at the present. Good news or agreeable information that comes from outside of your present context will bring a level of refreshment that is deeply soothing.
This means that one must have interacted with these distant lands, made plans, suggested new things, begun relationships. This is the hidden action in this proverb. If you have not interacted with anyone from a distant place, there can be no good refreshing news for you. The question arises: What have you done that reaches outside your context that could bring soul-refreshing news?
Have you made plans, made business deals, started relationships, sent goods to sell, requested audiences or alliances? Many people want the good news from the distant land but have not put in the work ahead of time to hear it. What would you like to hear a letter, an email, a phone call, or a telegram say? That you have been accepted to a college, that you have been selected for a job, that you got the part, that they want to publish your book, that so and so is coming, that the goods are on their way, that the sale is final, that the check is in the mail, etc? Any of these kinds of good news from a distant land are possible if you have first had the interaction with the distant land. It won't happen if you don't make the first move.