"Drink water from your own cistern"
He had 700 wives and 300 concubines, but he told his son to be a "one-woman man." Some may think Solomon hypocritical, but I don’t. I believe God is using the wisest man to give us His wisdom when it comes to sex.
Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?
Proverbs 5:15-20 ESV
Proverbs 5 is a poetical diamond. Wipe away the cultural dust, hold it to the light, and watch it sparkle.
In the arid lands of the east, water was a precious commodity. Cisterns--containers for holding water--were a luxury you wanted for your home. When you got thirsty, there was nothing more satisfying than being able to drink from your own cistern.
In Proverbs 5, Solomon likens the wife to a cistern. Ladies if that doesn’t seem glamorous, remember cisterns were prized. A drink satisfied the thirst and quenched that physical desire. Solomon spices up his picture by using the words water and drink as metaphors for sex. This is not unusual. We find similar uses in Proverbs 9:17 and Song of Songs 5:1.
Here’s God’s point: Sexual thirst is natural, but the only way a man should satisfy his sexual thirst is to drink from his own cistern, that is his own wife. In the verses above God tells men not to throw their sexual passion around in the streets.
Why drink from the puddles in the streets when you’ve got sweet, fresh water of your own -- at home?
God is commending and commanding the exclusive, private, and satisfying sexual relationship of a husband and wife. This is also the teaching of Paul in his letter to Corinth:
The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
1 Corinthians 7:3-5 ESV
If you are thirsty for sex, God says to cool those hot sexual desires with a sweet drink from your own wife: exclusive, private, and mutually satisfying.
Questions for the men: Solomon devotes verses 1-14, telling men to run from other women (and by inference) to be soley devoted to his wife.
(1) Married man, what can you do today to honor your wife?
(2) Single man, what can you do today to live pure as a man of God?
This post grew out of this Sunday's Message from Proverbs, Stay Sexually Pure. Click here for the video and then scroll to minute 40 to begin the talk.
 Nineteenth-century Hebrew scholars Keil & Delitzsch point out that the figure of a cistern corresponds to the sexual nature of the wife. As we will see throughout this week, Solomon uses highly charged sensual, even erotic language at points.