Broken Cisterns Hold No Water

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My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Jeremiah 2:13

There are two kinds of water sources in Israel–springs with “living” or fresh water, and cisterns (small reservoirs) with stale or stagnant water. Ancient landowners would dig cisterns to collect the rainwater. To insure that the cistern would hold water, the landowner plastered it inside with lime. Often cracks would develop and the water would leak out. In like manner Israel had abandoned the living God, the fountain of life” or “fountain of living waters” for man-made powerless gods. They had committed two “evils”: they had forsaken God, and they had tried to improve upon Him.

Like a pendulum swinging back and forth, each age has its own ideology. Sometimes there is a good reason for the change. But when people highlight ideals over the sovereignty of God, they become idols (false gods) and are eventually found to be inadequate. Idols are ultimately unsatisfying. In our passage today, the prophet Jeremiah speaks God’s judgment against the nation for seeking life where there is no life. He employs the metaphor of water, saying the people had turned away from God, the source of living water, and had built for themselves leaky cisterns, to try to catch whatever limited rain might fall. But however much rain came the cisterns had cracks in them and could hold no water. nothing can ever satisfy outside Jesus!

Not so different today, secularism has infiltrated and changed the mindset of our nation. God has been banned from the sphere of the nations, and restricted to the sphere of the Church.  Not only is His sovereignty over the nations denied, but His very existence is questioned by many. God’s people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols,” said the Lord. “They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Like idols, broken cisterns leave us thirsty and longing for living water, a gushing spring that never runs dry. Regardless of what people may say from age to age, Jesus is always the living water who fills us with the gift of eternal life (John 4:14).

I Declare: Today I declare that I am not too easily pleased with the trinkets of this world. I refuse to go anywhere looking for satisfaction outside of Christ the living water. I confess that a river dwells in me, therefore I am consistently refreshed!

Ignite Thought: Looking for satisfaction outside Christ, is like collecting and storing water in a broken cistern or fetching water using a sieve!

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