Truth is discriminating. That is an uncomfortable concept in this day and time when the very idea that all things and people are not always equal all the time is considered grounds for excommunication from polite society. And even though some people have the insane idea that we just need to worry more about letting go of our differences in theology and just getting along because unity and love are the highest virtues, the fact is that you can’t have real unity unless your unity is grounded in truth and real love is only love with it is grounded in truth. The fact is people who compromise on the clear truths of God’s word, as Peter says in this verse, have nothing real to offer those searching for truth. They make a lot of sound. Their tongues wag around in their mouths and there’s a lot of sound coming out, but in the end, they’re not saying a cotton picking thing.
As Peter says here, false teachers such as these are “springs without water”. Now, living as he did in the Middle East, Peter would know something about the need for water. If you were in a dry, arid place such as Palestine, you would need to have a source of water to survive. The word translated “springs” refers to something like a river, a source of water (or it could be used for some other liquid) that was gushing and flowing not stagnant like a well. These false teachers have the appearance of being a source of water. I can imagine this as being a picture of the constant flow of words coming out of their mouth. They talk and talk, always promising but never delivering. People come to them, their souls thirsty for the truth. These false teachers have all the attributes one would look for when looking for a spring. They look like the real deal.
In the end, however, they fail to yield what you’re looking for—just like a mirage. Instead of being springs of living water (John 4:14), these spring are waterless. The Greek word “anhudros” (504) is translated “without water”. Such is the teacher who offers false teaching—they offer nothing that quenches the thirsty soul because the soul of man needs the truth and they don’t have it because, as we’ve seen, they reject the word of God. They lead people astray with the promise of life giving truth. However, when that truth does not come from scripture it isn’t truth at all. In much the same way as cotton candy melts in your mouth before you even have a chance to really taste it, there is no substance to their teaching.
False teachers reject, dismiss, or downplay the truths of the Bible. Those who hold fast to these truths are mocked as being “fundamentalists” and even compared to Islamic terrorists. However, the fact remains that there can be no true unity until we separate truth from error. As Christians, we must discriminate—we must reject falsehood and hold fast to the truth. In the end, the truth of the gospel is not ours to edit but rather to proclaim boldly. In contrast, the boldness of the false teachers may look impressive but their empty words only lead to spiritual death.