Reading the book of Jeremiah the other day I came across an interesting phrase (2:13) “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have do dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water”.
As I thought about this passage I thought about how true this is for our own society, we have drifted from Christ, who is the stream of living water, and so we have a society that is lost, confused and hurting.
I remember when my friend Alex became a Christian, he had been deeply troubled, as his response to my friend Chris was “why didn’t you tell me?”
He had realised that in Jesus he was being offered something unique and precious that he couldn’t get anywhere else, a stream of living water -the source of life, something uncontaminated and pure, something he had been thirsty and longing for all his life.
Watching a water-aid advert on the T.V seeing kids drinking disgusting water filled with parasites that could kill them was heart breaking, longing for these poor children to be able to have clean, pure water free from bacteria.
This is the contrast that God is showing the prophet Jeremiah.
So what is God saying?
When we reject him we are reject the source and fountain of life, we begin to thirst -an unquenchable thirst- and try to satisfy this with things that actually just make us more thirsty.
I love beer and coffee, both actually makes us more thirsty, so actually the more coffee or beer we drink the more dehydrated we become.
So, we’ve rejected the source of life -living water- and drunk instead poisonous toxic water that fails even to quench our thirst adequately.
It seems crazy to turn from something pure and beautiful for something toxic and sinister, but the truth is since the fall of humankind that is what we have done.
The truth is we have all at times rejected God and thought we know better than him.
Our world has rejected God and his way, and have tried digging their own cisterns, just look at the world of advertising which will tell us fulfilment and purpose will be fulfilled by consumerism, sex, relationships, popularity, wealth, some Eastern spiritually of fulfilment or whatever… The world offers no shortage of idols, broken cisterns -that promise everything and deliver nothing.
And what of us personally, I think we all at times can recognise within ourselves those times we have turned from God’s living and life giving water and dug a broken cistern, believing that real fulfilment, purpose and value comes from some idols whether it is a girl/boyfriend, a promotion at work, bigger house, better car, popularity and recognition or whatever.
Often our ideas of fulfilment fall into the danger of “Jesus and….” But Jesus himself is enough, our all sufficient one.
Over our lives we have all developed coping strategies in life, things we put in place to make us feel good, affirmed, loved, valued and important -often these strategies are diametrically opposed to our life in Christ and our identity and purpose we find in him (such as bullying, porn, consumerism/spending) etc, actually they are idols, they are things that make us feel good short term, -some momentary pleasure- but long term they damage our life and our relationship with God.
God is a jealous God and won’t tolerate a rival.
God is a God of love, that offers so much and longs to liberate us from these poisonous, toxic idols that don’t satisfy us with himself, in whom all our hungers are satisfied.
Jesus says (to the woman at the well in Samaria) “if you drink