The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn aside from the snares of death.
Here God tells us that the law or teaching of the wise - the one who sees things as God sees them - is a fountain of life. As usual - we are being taught to have a very teachable spirit - and this is especially the case when we are hearing truths from someone who is wise and godly. Our ability to pay attention in these moments will make the difference in a large number of situations.
The phrase "fountain of life" should catch our eyes because it is a term that is very rarely used in Scripture, yet when used it refers to some very important truths. The first time it is used is in Psalm 36:9 as a reference to God Himself. With God Himself is the fountain of life. We are told that it is in His light that we see light. If we don't take advantage of listening to God - we won't even have the light we need to see things properly. The other four times when this exact phrase it used is in the Proverbs. We read in Proverbs 10:11 the the mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, so once again we are encouraged to listen closely when a godly or righteous man is speaking. Next in Proverbs 14:27 we learn that the fear ofthe Lord is a fountain of life. When we fear God - showing respect to Him and to His Word, we are given the wisdom necessary to "avoid the snares of death." Lastly in Proverbs 16:22 that understanding is a fountain of life - keeping us from the discipline of fools. These passages along with the promise here that the teaching of the wise (which is that fountain manifest again) will turn us aside from the snares of death. We see a pattern here that should catch our attention. The "fountain of life" is when God Himself is giving wisdom - and that comes through His Word, through godly men and women who speak it, and through gaining understanding when we hear what they have to teach us. Oh the problems and difficulties that we could avoid in life if we would only listen - and learn from this fountain - hearing what God has to say - and the understanding and cautions that He wants to offer to us.
Our problem is that much like the people in Jeremiah's day, we abandon the fountain of living waters - to dig our own cisterns instead. We consider so many other sources more informative and worthy of our time rather than the Word of God. We do not realize the value of godly counsel and teaching until it is too late and we've landed ourselves in the discipline of fools. That is why it is wise to cultivate a desire for and an ear to hear what God is saying to us - no matter what the source at the time. Listening will provide blessing - and in some cases the difference between walking unhindered in our lives, as opposed to finding that our path has led us to fall into a pit. Such "snares of death" can be avoided if we will only listen and learn that the bait in the snare is a lie. It won't bring satisfaction. It will only be a lure to bring us down and yield death and destruction in our lives.