Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:6-7
In wealthy homes lamps were traditionally made of gold and suspended by silver chains. Just as those today who can't afford diamonds will wear rhinestones, so in those days those who could not afford such luxuries would use lamps of base metal or pottery, paint them yellow, and suspend them from silver-colored cords. Light and water were Hebrew symbols of life. The loosened "silver" cord or the breaking and spilling of the "golden bowl" (the lamp) is a metaphor of death. Likewise, death is denoted by not being able to get water because the pitcher or the cistern-wheel is broken.