The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
A man who receives, professes, and obeys the truth, is like a well of water; while a man who retains the form of religion, but denies its power, is like a waterless well.
I. THE TRUE BELIEVER IS LIKE A WELL. The likeness between the natural and the spiritual may be thus traced.
1. In the manner of its flow. It is an overflow. When the well flows for the benefit of others, itself is full. Itself is satisfied, and out of its abundance it flows over to satisfy the wants of others. When a Christian has not much for himself, he has nothing for his neighbours. As the full well must run over, so the satisfied soul must make known in some form the Saviour's love.
2. In the effects of its overflow. It refreshes and fertilises the surrounding barrenness. Travellers always take special notice of the effects produced by springs on certain spots in the desert. They make oases. So the neighbourhood feels the effect of the presence of Christians. There cannot be a lively Christian in a godless family, or a lively Church in a godless neighbourhood, without some spiritual commotion among those who are near.
3. As to source whence the well gets its supply. Though the water springs up from beneath, the supply has come down from above. So the Christian says, "All my springs are in Thee." The facts in nature are well known. For Christians, all depends on the supply they get from a covenant God. The Spirit poured out reaches by hidden paths the veins of the heart, and fills it — then it can overflow in blessing. This truth is taught as a doctrine (John 7:37-39), and manifested in the experience of the disciples (Luke 9:54).
II. A HYPOCRITE IS LIKE A WELL WITHOUT WATER. He who has neither the profession nor the power, is not a well at all. He who has the profession but not the power is a well, but there is no water in it. Counterfeit Christians are not simply useless, they are destroyers (compare Jude 1:12: "Clouds without water"). Christian professors need to see well to it that they are not deceiving and destroying their neighbours. Their profession constitutes them wells, but what if they are wells without water? When God finds us dry, we have cause to fear lest He visit us in judgment, and cut off from us our own supply. Practical lessons:
1. Some wells are not empty, and yet are as useless as if they were. They are filled with bitter water. Some professing Christians with knowledge and correct principles, nevertheless are of an angry, biting, censorious, malicious, proud, selfish spirit. Let Christians imitate the gentleness as well as the faithfulness of Christ.
2. Some wells are not empty, and yet are as useless as if they were. They are filled, or nearly filled, with stagnant water. The water is stagnant, for none has found its way in for a long time from the secret channels, and none has run out over the brim. Secret, earnest, constant getting of the fulness that is hid in Christ is the only sure way of being blessed yourself and becoming s blessing to others.
Parallel VersesKJV: The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.