Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:12-13)
Wednesday, Third Week after Pentecost
What shall I render unto Him for all His benefits?” I can only give my own self–all I have, and all I am. I desire to surrender myself wholly unto You, O my God, to live more simply as one separated unto You, not finding my joy and comfort in the earthly blessings You so richly bestow on me, but, while thankful for the gracious gifts, looking only to the Giver as the Source of my happiness and the Object of my life. I cannot shake off the habits of thought and feeling which many years have worked in me; I can only ask of You to have mercy on me, poor and needy as I am, and subdue in me all that is perverse and wayward in my heart, and so fill me with Your pure and heavenly love, that all my narrowness and selfishness and prejudice may be done away in the wideness of Your love. Amen
Growing up on a farm, we knew about cisterns. A cistern is basically a fancy hole in the ground that stores water. Most of the time the hole is chiseled out of bedrock and collects water from rain. It is different from a well because a well usually taps into some sort of underground water reserve, a cistern does not.
In dry places where a well is not feasible, a cistern can be very helpful in collecting as much rain water as possible so that animals or people may have a source of water. Ancient architects often built giant cisterns underneath buildings so that water would be always a ready supply.
The difficulty with cisterns is that if you don’t get a good supply of rain, the cistern can dry up. The other problem is that if the cistern develops a leak or becomes broken, the water will drain out and the cistern will become useless.
I was reading the writings of the prophet Jeremiah in the Bible and one passage stood out among many. The prophet was chastising his own people for their sin. What was the problem from God’s viewpoint? Ancient Israel was committing two evils. First they were forsaking God, “the fountain of living waters”, and they were making cisterns for themselves, “broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
This wasn’t about having a good water supply; this was a strong metaphor about spiritual well-being. Israel was cutting themselves off from the source of their life, and they were trying to live by their own ingenuity and (if you read further) trusting in delusions and images of their own making that could not save them.
It strikes me that this is where we are in today’s culture. We are trusting in our own cultural solutions to overcome problems that we face, without looking to God. We end up trusting in the gods of their own making, or even worse, trying to reshape and remake God into our image, rather than acknowledging God for Who He Is and aligning ourselves with His Way.
In Jeremiah’s time, God’s people were in for a terrible shock. They would very soon either be dead or exiled in a foreign country.
Where are we headed in America? It’s a really good question, especially when many people would rather go their own way than God’s way.
I would simply invite you to ask yourself this: Where do you get your spiritual well-being from? Are you drawing water from the wells of salvation in Christ Jesus, or are you drinking from a broken cistern? One gives life that lasts forever. The other will soon be dry.
May God give you the wisdom to know Him fully so that you may live.
In Christ Jesus,
Pastor Langdon Reinke
P.S. Hope you and your family are doing well. We have volunteers and help available if needed, let us know.