Home > Jeremiah Was a Dragon-Man > Jeremiah Was A Dragon-Man: Trading Water for Leaky Buckets is Ineffective

Jeremiah Was A Dragon-Man: Trading Water for Leaky Buckets is Ineffective

Jeremiah begins his prophesying by explaining, in no uncertain terms, how Israel has been breaking her covenant with YHWH and how foolish their mistreatment of God is. In the middle of his prophetic indictment, Jeremiah sums up the sin of the Jews perfectly:

“Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, but 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.”

YHWH addresses the heavens first, telling the heavens who have seen every sort of evil on earth transpire, what God’s people have done should appall and shock even them. The thing that is so shocking and appalling is that Israel and Judah could be so naïve and arrogant, they left the waters of the life-giving and life-sustaining fountain because they made some water containers that could hold no water. Their water cisterns were cisterns in name only, for they had absolutely no capacity to do what they were designed to do.

These images describe Israel’s leaving their God who had freed them from slavery, provided them with food, water, and shelter in the desert, gave them instructions for life as a vibrant spiritual community, and brought them into a rich land so they could become a nation which shone the love and glory of God to the world around it. He was their fountain of life. They decided to try to acquire the life giving waters their own way, so they constructed gods of wood and stone and metals and asked their creations to bring them life. Thinking and living this way is so backwards it should be shocking and appalling to the heavens – not only is it insensible it’s a betrayal of the one who had given them everything. Why would Israel and Judah do such a thing?

Being in the living waters of YHWH’s fountain can be frustrating. There are thoughts, words, desires, attitudes, and actions which arise out of an evil and dead heart. Despite the death these things bring, people still want to do them. The problem is, one cannot receive the good and life giving waters of the fountain while living out of an evil and dead heart. One can leave the fountain, do these things, and come back to it, but death and life can’t exist in the same place at the same time. Israel’s greed, lust, envy, selfishness, and pride made them want to live in a way that leads to death, but they also knew they needed the water YHWH provided. Thus, Israel hewed out its own cisterns, created its own idols, replacing their God with things that have no power.

It may be shocking and appalling to hear this, but forsaking God because of our sinful inclination and trying to replace the life He gives with something else is still a problem among His people. So, what about you? What is it that is drawing you away from the fountain of living waters? Evil desires? Mistrust in His love? Undeserving? Maybe His life feels inadequate? Feels too hard to live in the way of life?

And what are broken cistern are you trying to carry around water in? Attention from the opposite sex? Apathy? Money? Compliments? Lust? Accomplishment? Family? Fun? Going to church? Respectability? Comparisons to others? These gods are as effective at giving life as drinking water out of a broken cistern which can hold no water is for quenching thirst.

Come back to the fountain friend. We’re always welcome back. There’s cleansing and refreshment here, and more life to be discovered than we can possibly imagine.


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