Wise Friends Seek Each Other’s Wisdom
“The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook… “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” (Proverbs 18:4; 20:5)
I have always loved fountains, be they natural fountains from underground springs and man-made fountains. There is a waterfall fountain outside of the Bistro in my building. You have to look closely to see the water falling over the rock quietly and continuously, molding itself to the contour of the rocks. Unlike a natural bubbling brook, this water is pushed to the top by an electric pump. Friends are more like well pumps that draw water out from the well of wisdom that God has given us. Wells draw water out and then push it into a storage tank to move through pipes, reaching the taps that we use. People in majority countries have an advantage over the rest of the world, in that they know and think about how water is extracted for their use because it periodically stops when the pump stops running. However, we usually take it for granted that whenever we turn on the tap, water will come out.
Friends often take each other for granted; we assume that we know everything about our friends, but the truth is that God wants us to draw out wisdom from each other’s hearts for the good of everyone. Recently I spend an evening in a Bible study with some friends I know pretty well. I was enriched by our time together, hearing about their challenges and need for even more wisdom, which we often find during our time together. John Gill says, “The doctrines which such a man has imbibed, and his heart is full of, and his mouth utters, are like to “waters”, pure, purifying, and refreshing; to “deep waters”, which make no noise, and cannot be easily fathomed…there is a spring of spiritual wisdom and knowledge in him; a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life; and from thence it flows freely and constantly; communicating itself liberally unto others, and ministering grace to the hearers, for their edification.” *
Proverbs 20:5 extends this idea to point out that a person of “understanding” will be able to draw out her friends’ wisdom. There are natural underground springs that we would never know about unless they are tapped. Although the Holy Spirit continually fills believers with his Christ’s wisdom, our reservoirs of biblical truth go untapped until someone actively pursues it, which is why we need to spend time with our friend in Bible study and doctrinal discussions.
It is good to be appropriately inquisitive about our friends understanding of Scripture and its teachings. Are you curious about what your friends understand or believe, and how they use their wisdom in their lives? Will you be more proactive about drawing out your friends’ wisdom for their good and yours?
* John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-18.html