As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart [or so others reflect your heart back to you].
When I first looked at this verse in both NIV versions, I thought I knew it. After all most are familiar with the maxims, Show me how a person spends his or her time and I will show you the person or Show me how a person spends his or her money and I will show you the person. And if it is the second NIV version as given below
As water reflects the face, so others reflect your heart back to you.
Then two other maxims come to mind, You are known by the company you keep and Birds of a feather flock together. Hanging around some unsavory characters in my last two years of high school I heard both of these frequently from my mother and from time to time from my father.
The latter two maxims seem to capture the second NIV version quite well. Here is another maxim found in the Benson Commentary
“A man may see himself, while he looks upon other men, as well as know other men, by considering himself, and that as certainly as he can see his own face in the water, or in any other mirror”
Obviously anyone can find out what their face looks like by looking at a reflection whether it be from the water or from a mirror. Not been getting enough sleep, your reflection will reveal this. Unhappy most of the time, your reflection will reveal this. Happy most of the time, your reflection will reveal this. Intense most of the time, your reflection will reveal this. In many cultures it is considered impolite, some very impolite, to directly look at another’s face for any but a very short time as much is revealed by one’s face. Try this with a friend or a spouse and notice how much you can see if you look long and hard – much can be revealed.
Matthew Henry said the following about the entire verse
One corrupt heart is like another; so are sanctified hearts: the former bear the same image of the earthly, the latter the same image of the heavenly. Let us carefully watch our own hearts, comparing them with the word of God.
I think Matthew Henry is onto something, after all given God’s word [the Bible] we are given another mirror to look at ourselves and more importantly at our hearts. Consider our lives, do we follow what Jesus said when asked about the most important commandment?
“‘37 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
Or what Paul said in Galatians 5:6b
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Or what Jesus said in John 13 about how we are to treat each other
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
It’s Friday and I hope you have a Great Weekend and that you remember to Go to Church celebrating Resurrection Sunday (aka Easter). While doing so, take the time to look upon your heart and actions; see if they are reflecting God’s word or something else.