The prophet identifies in a single verse the two great missteps in life, giving two contrasting illustrations of human experience. One is a free-flowing fountain of meaning and happiness with God, and the other is a broken cistern representing toil and failure without Him.
God’s message through the ‘reasoning prophet’ was that society in general makes two massively harmful decisions. One is to reject spiritual life from God, and the other is to live for short-lived material things alone. Here the gains and losses are compared.