Jeremiah 2:13 “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.”
The imagery here is especially striking for Israel to be in a relatively arid part of the world. Water, or the lack of it, is literally the dividing line between life and death. That’s the background to the many Biblical references to “living water” or “water of life.” What the Lord is accusing His people of here is sadly still common. People abandon their Creator, and then in His place create all sorts of substitutes that are no substitutes at all. One of the more absurd of those, that happens to be vigorously promoted by some people, is government as a substitute for God. Claiming “separation of Church and State,” they try to drive all mention of God out of the marketplace, insisting that we rely on human institutions instead. How foolish! That is exactly equivalent to abandoning a free-flowing spring in favor of cracked cisterns that don’t hold water. God is saying here that’s a double evil, because if people simply wander away from the spring they would be likely to return to it. However, they actively try to replace the spring with broken cisterns, which blinds them to the availability of the spring. Jeremiah is known as a severe, accusing prophet, but he was simply responding to the sins around him. Actually, he expressed the love of God magnificently many times, and this verse also is holding out God as an unfailing spring that is available to all who will come to Him, instead of being deceived by the multiple lies that are in the world.
The closest I’ve come to this was in focusing on the gifts God had given me, rather than on the One who gave me those gifts. However, I see this sort of attitude around me all the time. Something I see all too often is one I can relate to from having been there: the conviction that “I’m smarter than they are, so I should be in control.” That level of pride blinds us to God, because it puts man in the place of God. Even knowing the Bible as well as I did, I still made decisions that didn’t consider God at all, which is the equivalent of making cracked cisterns. When even the Son of God prayed, “Not as I will, but as You will,” (Matthew 26:39) how could I do anything else?
Father, thank You for this reminder. I often fail to recognize when I’m straying into this sort of thing. Keep me aware of my total dependence on You, as well as Your gracious, abundant supply. Help me be an open channel of Your living water to that others too may “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” (Psalm 34:8) for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!