“A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.”
“A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.” - NLT
Years ago, when I was young (many years ago), we got all of our water from a well. Instead of “purified” city water, we had an electric pump that drew water from deep down inside the ground. The water was cold and sweet – and free.
However, the only problem with our well was that when it rained really hard, especially after the weather had been dry for a while, the water from the well would turn a muddy red. Runoff from the mountains would somehow find its way into the underground stream from which our water was drawn.
Once, when I was single, poor, and living on my own, all I had to eat one evening was some Uncle Ben’s white rice. That day it had come a hard rain, and as usual, the water was as red as Georgia clay. Since I had no fancy bottled water, the only option I had was to boil my rice in muddy water, which, as you can imagine, also turned my rice red.
I have had red beans and rice, but red rice, especially muddy-tasting red rice, is not particularly appetizing. It’s not something I would recommend.
There is nothing more naturally refreshing to one who is thirsty than cold, clean, fresh spring water. And when it comes to those who are thirsty for clean, pure truth; for hope that sustains; for counsel that refreshes; there’s nothing more helpful than a word of wisdom offered by a righteous man of God.
However, a righteous man who has given in to the influence and pressures of the world “is as useless to society and as harmful to the good cause as a spring that has been defiled by mud stirred up or extraneous matter introduced is unserviceable for drinking and prejudicial to those who use it.”
The saddest thing is that unless one knows the source of a spring, or unless one is able to determine the water’s purity, polluted water can go undetected until it is too late. Water doesn’t have to be visibly muddy to be unhealthy, or even deadly. Therefore, unless the source of wisdom is Wisdom himself, then the well must be suspect.
How many thirsty men and women, boys and girls, have been sickened by “polluted springs?” Even worse, how many of us have allowed ourselves to be polluted by sin, only to poison others?
The only water guaranteed to “spring up into everlasting life” comes from Jesus (John 4:14), and He said: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37).
Don’t muddy the Water.
 H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Proverbs, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 485.