Heath Of The Wilderness
During Bible History, a shrub variety of Juniper was known to the Hebrews as (pronounced in Hebrew) ar-awr. It was found existing ("growing" would not be an appropriate word) in dry, infertile places, which resulted in it being stunted and calloused. English-language versions of the Bible sometimes used the Anglo-Saxon word heath to translate the original Hebrew word, since heath referred to not just a similar shrub found in the countryside of England, but also because heath was a term used to describe the areas where heath was found i.e. uncultivated land with poor soil and scrubby vegetation. From this meaning of heath was derived the original term heathen - uncivilized people who lived out in the heath, but later it was used as a religious analogy for spiritually-stunted people who lived in a religious wasteland.
The Lord used dry, scrubby heath as an analogy for those who look to themselves for Truth, rather than to the only genuine source of spiritual fertility - the literal Word of God in The Holy Bible. These verses were addressed to the people of Judah, but He was speaking to, and warning, "man" (see verses below) as an entire species:
"The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars; Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills. O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders."
"And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever."
"Thus saith The Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from The Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited."
"Blessed is the man that trusteth in The Lord, and whose hope The Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit." (Jeremiah 17:1-8 KJV)
Fact Finder: What are the prophesied physical and spiritual meanings of "living waters"?
See Living Waters