Last weekend I had the privilege of driving through the mountains on my way to Ridgehaven, the PCA’s retreat center near Brevard, North Carolina. It lies in Transylvania County, (appropriate for an October story) near the border of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The highway passes through an area of the US that is brimming with waterfalls. Besides the fact that there’s plenty of opportunity for changes in altitude, this little area receives more annual rainfall than any other location east of the Mississippi River.
I decided I would take my time, do a little hiking, and maybe photograph some waterfalls on my way to the retreat. I stopped at a South Carolina park to get a map of waterfall locations in the area. I chose an easy one to get to, Station Cove Falls. It was about a 1 1/2 mile hike from the road to the falls. Nothing too difficult. It was a peaceful time, just me and my camera. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on the beauty of the world and the blessings I have.
There is something magical about a waterfall. The visual beauty is obvious. But there’s also the sound of rushing water falling on stone; the mist of water droplets splashing on your face; the sun creating prisms of light. The water never ceases, except in an extreme drought; it continues to flow constantly and consistently.
Proverbs 18:4 (NIV)
4 The words of the mouth are deep waters,
but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.
The Hebrew word translated fountain might be better understood as spring. It is gushing water coming up out of the ground, creating a continuous stream of cool, clear water. It is refreshing to anyone who bathes in it or drinks from it.
A fountain of wisdom would indicate one that never runs out. Wisdom comes from within. It is a combination of good judgment, tolerance and mercy, knowledge of what is true, discernment, and insight. It frequently comes with age and experience, but not necessarily. There are plenty of “old fools” and occasionally you encounter a “young sage.”
From a Christian perspective, we gain wisdom from knowing and understanding God. And that in turn is done by observing others more wise than ourselves along with the study of the scriptures. James instructs us in his epistle to ask God if anyone lacks wisdom. (James 1:5) In chapter 3 he gives us some insight into God’s definition of wisdom: