Springs or Cisterns?
(Jeremiah 1:1-9; 2:1-37; 3:1-5)
Jesus and the Woman of Samaria
Providence Lithograph Co.
The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah has been called “The Weeping Prophet.” He mourned the complacency of the Lord’s people in easy times and warned of challenging times to come. Jeremiah prayed painfully for the hearts of God’s children and called them to repentance and faithfulness. He urged them to rely on the one true Source of Life, rather than on temporary trappings and false security.
Bringing the Word of the Lord, Jeremiah said:
"[The Lord says,]
’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.’”
(Jeremiah 2:13, NIV)
Throughout the Bible, the Holy Spirit of the Lord has been likened to life-giving water. After all, the Lord is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider. He promises to meet the needs of His children, if we will only look to Him.
Still, the Old Testament children of Israel attempted to supply their own needs. Do we not do the same today?
In Jeremiah 2:13, the Lord declared Himself to be “the spring of living water.” He chastised His people for digging their own cisterns, which were even broken and leaking.
What is the difference between a spring and a cistern?
Historically, men have built wells over productive springs producing potable water. In areas where such resources were not readily available, men have constructed cisterns, which are basically holding tanks. A well is spring-fed, while a cistern must be filled from another source.
What could be more valuable to a community’s daily physical survival than an ever-faithful source of fresh water?
A leaking cistern, of course, is of no good to anyone.
This biblical metaphor points to the Lord’s boundless provision and man’s inability to provide adequately for his own needs. Is there anything we can do to save ourselves? Can we possibly provide all we need to survive, both now and in the life to come, without the Lord’s assistance?
Today, psychologists love to talk about love tanks and love reservoirs. Obviously, everyone needs love. What happens when a person's love tank runs a little dry? How can it be refilled?
People try all sorts of means and measures to refill their love reservoirs. Many of these methods prove disappointing, or even destructive. Could it be . . . that the Author of Love is the only real Source of the refreshing and restoring love that we need?
The Lord offers living water.
In Israel’s often arid climate, the city well, built upon a freshwater spring, was a daily gathering spot in Bible times. John 4 contains the biblical account of Jesus’ encounter with a woman at a Samaritan well, in which the Lord spoke again of living water that will end all thirst.
May we look to our great God, who does all things well, for our very lives.
Will you pray with me?
You are our all-sufficient God.
You are all we need.
Remind us to abandon
Our broken attempts
To meet our own needs
Without Your help.
We need You
Fill our hearts
With Your living water,
From Your well of love
That never runs dry.