As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God in whatever way that may take place.
Jeremiah 2:4-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord:
What wrong did your ancestors find in me
that they went far from me,
and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?
They did not say, “Where is the Lord
who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us in the wilderness,
in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
in a land that no one passes through,
where no one lives?”
I brought you into a plentiful land
to eat its fruits and its good things.
But when you entered you defiled my land,
and made my heritage an abomination.
The priests did not say, “Where is the Lord?”
Those who handle the law did not know me;
the rulers transgressed against me;
the prophets prophesied by Baal,
and went after things that do not profit.
Therefore once more I accuse you,
says the Lord,
and I accuse your children’s children.
Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look,
send to Kedar and examine with care;
see if there has ever been such a thing.
Has a nation changed its gods,
even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
for something that does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
says the Lord,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living water,
and dug out cisterns for themselves,
that can hold no water.
There is an old story about the town drunk who only came to church once a year, during the annual revival. Every time, at the end of the service, he would stagger down the aisle yelling, “Fill me up, Lord!” One year, a wise woman who had had enough hollered back, “Don’t do it Lord, he leaks!”
In verse 13 Jeremiah warns us that we all leak. In beautifully painful imagery, he paints the picture of a spring gushing forth pure, sweet, cool water. Next to the spring stands a huge cistern with large cracks running down its length. People are vainly transporting water from afar and pouring it into the leaking cistern while the spring bubbles invitingly right beside it.
Why do we put so much effort and work into pleasing the idols in our lives – work, money, prestige, comfort, retaliation, anger, etc.? They can never fill us up. Yet God is offering us a fountain of living water that promises to fill us with love, joy, peace and all of the other fruits of the Spirit. How do we attain such blessings? Jeremiah lets us know it is a two-fold process. We have to let go of our idols (abandon our leaky cisterns) and turn to the living water God offers.
I confess that I am tempted to waste my life working to fill a cistern that leaks. I seek the approval of others. I “buy into” a culture that measures value by wealth. I seek to be comfortable more than faithful. I seek retribution rather than reconciliation. Yet I also seek you. I need you to help me break down my leaky cistern and turn to the fountain of life you set before me. Help me drink deeply of that fountain and never be thirsty again. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Go with God!