Proverbs 18:4

The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.

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How deep and flowing are you? A wise man has a deep pool of profound wisdom, which produces words of prudent counsel to help others. His soul sends forth a steady stream of wisdom, which is a tree of life to many (Pr 15:4). How deep and flowing are you?

This proverb is not about any or every man. It only describes a wise man, which comparing the two clauses clearly shows. Only a wise man’s mouth feeds knowledge to others (Pr 15:7; 16:23; Eccl 10:12; Ps 37:30-31). Fools’ mouths pour out foolishness.

The proverb has two beautiful similes. The first one declares a wise man’s words are like deep waters. What can you learn by this comparison? His wisdom is deep: it is not just a superficial view of things (John 7:24: Is 11:1-4). His wisdom is plentiful: he can help with different dilemmas (Job 29:21-25; Matt 13:52). Only men of understanding can draw it out, for a wise man is not easily persuaded to give his opinion (Pr 20:5; 17:27).

The second simile compares a wise man’s words to a spring producing a flowing brook. A wellspring is the source or spring of a stream. As a brook supplies water to prosper lower lands, so a wise man speaks to help those around him. His mouth is a well of life (Pr 10:11). His instruction is a fountain of life (Pr 13:14). He feeds many (Pr 10:21). He is health and a tree of life to others (Pr 12:18; 15:4). Fools are deadly (Pr 13:20).

Solomon had largeness of heart and wisdom above all others (I Kgs 4:29-34). He could speak on any subject, including trees. Men from the courts of all the kings of the earth came to hear his wisdom. But Solomon’s Son, Jesus Christ, was greater than Solomon. When Jesus spoke, people were astonished by both His authority and graciousness (Matt 7:28-29; Luke 4:22). And He could shut His enemies’ mouths at will (Matt 22:46).

How deep and flowing are you? Have you learned the words of truth to give certain answers to those that ask (Pr 22:17-21)? Have you meditated on God’s word to be able to answer enemies, teachers, and ancients (Ps 119:98-100)? Do you study before answering a new matter (Pr 15:28)? Have you learned how to answer every man graciously (Col 4:6)? Have you shown a noble spirit by restraining your speech (Pr 17:27)?

Have you sanctified the Lord God by exalting Him in your heart, so you can give a sound reason for your hope (I Pet 3:15)? Do you trust Scripture as being sufficient to make the man of God perfect (II Tim 3:16-17)? Do you love others enough to discover their needs and help them (I Thess 5:14; Heb 3:12-13)? Are you spiritual enough to save those who are weak around you (Gal 6:1; Jas 5:19-20)? Can you speak about the things of God to others, especially your children and grandchildren (Ps 71:14-18; 78:1-8; Mal 3:16)?

If you can answer these questions positively, you are the man of this proverb. If you cannot, you need to work on two things. First, you need depth of wisdom so your words are like deep waters. You do this by acquiring much wisdom from the Bible. Second, you need to prime the pump and get your words flowing like a brook. You need to reject foolish reticence or fear of man in order to answer and teach others in need of wisdom.