Water from Our Own Wells: Healing Envy and Covetousness (Tues. March 23)

The word of the day is “cistern.”[i]  In today’s reading of Proverbs 5:1-15, the sage warns against the seduction of loose women and urges the chastity of a faithful marriage.  But to picture his counsel, he uses a striking image, “Drink water from your own cisterns and running water from your own well” (NKJV vs. 15).  There is no reason to draw water from someone else’s supply when we have our own. Of course, that applies to sexual relationships. But like so many folk sayings the maxim  has a wider application.   Today we will look at covetousness and envy as overweening desires for the possessions of others. The Social Context of Covetousness and Envy Covetousness is such a serious a…

Dry Wells or Flowing Fountains? (Tues., Feb. 23)

The word of the day is “wells.  Wells are meant to provide water.  But if a well becomes dry, it is a useless hole in the ground.   In our reading of 2 Peter 2:9-22, the apostle compares false teachers to dried up wells (vs. 17)  that are a  great disappointment to a thirsty traveler.  In today’s study, we will contrast these empty pits with the flowing fountains of living water that the Lord gives who come to Him to drink (John 4:13-14). Appealing to the Passions of Covetousness and Lewdness The apostle’s emphasis is on deceivers who exploit and allure the faithful.  The term “exploit” is derived from the idea of business or trade.  In this case, the trade is…

Contentment: a Form of Faith (Wed. Dec. 9)

The word of the day is “contentment.”  In our reading of 1 Timothy 5:22-6:11, St. Paul continues to instruct the young Bishop Timothy on establishing order in his congregation.  Paul especially denounces the troublemakers who think they can earn material benefit from their godliness.  Paul says that indeed, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (vs. 6:5).  But it is not the profit that the agitators in Ephesus think it is. The word “gain” in the original Greek comes from the thought of providing for oneself.  (Strong’s #4200). Thus, it refers to the means of acquiring or gaining possession of something, such as money.  Paul charges that the congregation’s troublemakers believe that they can profit from their godliness, supposed piety, and…