XXfoun-tin, foun-tan: In a country where no rain falls for half of the year, springs sume an importance unknown in more favored lands. In both eastern and western Israel and even in Lebanon there are many villages which depend entirely upon reservoirs or cisterns of rain water. Others are situated along the courses of the few perennial streams. But wherever a spring exists it is very apt to be the nucleus of a village. It may furnish sufficient water to be used in irrigation, in which case the gardens surrounding the village become an oasis in the midst of the parched land. Or there may be a tiny stream which barely suffices for drinking water, about which the village women and girls sit and talk waiting their turns to fill their jars, sometimes until far in the night. The water of the village fountain is often conveyed by a covered conduit for some distance from the source to a convenient spot in the village where an arch is built up, under which the water gushes out. See CISTERN; SPRING; WELL; EN-, and place-names compounded with EN-.
Figurative: (1) of God (Ps 36:9; Jer 2:13; 17:13); (2) of Divine pardon and purification, with an obvious Messianic reference (Zec 13:1); (3) of wisdom and godliness (Prov 13:14; 14:27); (4) of wives (Prov 5:18); (5) of children (Dt 33:28; compare Ps 68:26; Prov 5:16); (6) of prosperity (Ps 107:35; 114:8; Hos 13:15); (7) of the heart (Eccl 12:6; see CISTERN); (8) of life everlasting (Rev 7:17; 21:6).
Alfred Ely Day