The Call, part four

As we work our way through the early chapters of Jeremiah, yesterday I got talking about something for a while. So today I want to revisit part of the Bible verse from yesterday and really look closely at something in it. If you’ll remember, this is God laying out His issues with His chosen people. As He does it, God points out two main things that His people did wrong.

Jeremiah 2:13 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.

Before I dig deep into this, let me just share with you my heart on something. One of the odd things about studying the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is working to decipher what’s just good general wisdom and what’s directly relatable to us as modern believers. The above verse was spoken directly to God’s chosen people at that time in history. But let me ask you something. Is America a nation that has forsaken God? Have we turned to non-Gods, are we a nation of idol worshiping people who have little to no respect for God? Just in case you’re unsure, let me tell you that we most certainly are. This is a country that’s done just about everything possible to scrub God from every part of itself, and while I’m proud to be one of the many believers who fight to keep the name of God one that is high and lifted up, we are not the majority in this nation. So when I read verses like this sometimes I feel like it applies to us just like it applied to God’s people back then. By and large, our nation has forsaken God. That, to me, is why it’s so important to study things like this. God’s dealt with situations like this before, right here on the pages of the book of Jeremiah, and I think it’s foolish for us to not draw the parallels between that nation and ours, to not see if we can find some wisdom here and some insight that might help us learn from the past.

Okay, so there’s my little rant, let’s move on. We really talked a lot about forsaking God or losing focus on God yesterday, so I want to focus on the rest of this verse today. God identifies Himself as something here. He calls Himself the fountain of living waters. As you continue to read through the Bible, you find the idea of living water something that comes up again. Here’s Jesus talking about it.

John 4:13-14 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Living water is a source of life that will never run dry. It flows from the heart of God into our lives, and as Jesus says in the above verse, this living water will become like a spring inside of us. Another verse in John says we’ll have living water flowing from our hearts, so we too will be a source of this living water to others who desperately need it.

Let’s be honest, living water is a bit of an odd term, but I feel like it’s important to really grasp what it is here. Luckily, Jesus clearly defines what it is for us later in the book of John.

John 7:37-39 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Living water is the Holy Spirit that dwells inside of us once we’ve accepted Jesus as our savior. It literally is God, if you want to really just break it down all the way.

So let’s go back to Jeremiah. Forsaking God is forsaking the fountain of living waters. It’s like saying no to God’s presence and His power, it’s like taking the Holy Spirit inside of us, finding a closet to shove Him in, and locking Him there.

Now, what did God say was the second evil His people had committed? They have forsaken God “and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Which begs the question, what exactly is a cistern?

You’ll love the visual on this, and pretty much the mental picture finishes out my blog for me today. A cistern is a tank of water. The main use of the word in modern day? The tank of water on the back of a toilet. So when we forsake God, when we turn away from Him, look at what we’re doing. We’re turning away from the source of living water, and we’re replacing it with the water tank from a toilet. Jesus described living water like a spring, and what Israel was doing and what America is doing and what we can sometimes do is look at this beautiful, perfect spring, with this magical water flowing out of it, and shrug and say “no thanks, I can handle it on my own.” And instead of this spring of living water, we’ve got our own little cistern. And don’t forget, God’s poetic and also funny, so don’t forget what else He said about these man-made cisterns. “Broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

Our attempts to replace the living water of God don’t even amount to functional cisterns! They’re broken and can hold no water. Do you know what you can’t do when you’re without water? You can’t wash yourself clean when you get dirty. You can’t drink and live. We get so wrapped up in helping ourselves, of being self sufficient, that I think we sometimes refrain from going to God for that life giving water. We mess up, we get dirty, and we try to clean ourselves off. Or we get thirsty and we turn anywhere but to God to quench us. Or we notice we’re getting low, and instead of going to the spring of living water to fill us back up we turn to other things, to other people.

God’s dealt with this before, and He called it evil. We were created to live life with God, and when we don’t things get off track. Our best efforts at providing our own water are broken cisterns. God’s best effort? A never ending fountain of living water that gives eternal life, the very presence of God that lives inside of us, that equips us to be lights in a dark world, that endows us with power and abilities to do great works that will show God’s power and love to the world.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, today I just ask that you give us the wisdom to come to you as the source of life giving water.  We can be pretty dumb, Lord, we’ll drink just about anything.  I wish I understood why we can be so hesitant to turn to you when you’re truly all that we need.  Make us wiser than we are, don’t let us be like the people in the book of Jeremiah who were trying to do it on their own.  You didn’t make us to do it on our own, you made us to do it with you.  I ask that you make the concept of living water real and alive in us, let it go from an interesting phrase to a reality that we see and feel and grasp fully.  Fill me to overflowing with your living water so that I can’t help but share it with those around me.  I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, amen.

I love you guys.  Don’t let election madness get you down!  If you can’t stop stressing, then head out into a quiet corner of the world for the evening.  I pray the peace and comfor of our Lord upon any of you who are stressed or anxious.

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