Seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Broken cisterns or the fountain of life? And yet, how many of us keep forsaking the way of God and choosing to dig our own way out? This Scripture is not referring to the lost people of the world; God says “My people!” We choose to follow Christ, but then we forsake Him either in times that are good or times that are bad.
“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 2:13-14, NIV).
Notice God says they have committed two sins. You see, the first sin would have been bad enough: forsaking the God who created us and gave His life for us. But this verse refers to those who have decided to dig their own cisterns instead. These cisterns referred to were dug out of the ground and used for collecting and holding rainwater in Jeremiah’s day. Often times plaster was used to make them watertight, but the plaster would eventually crack and break, causing the water to be lost.
And that is exactly what happens when we turn from God and choose our own way. Maybe we tried God’s way and we feel that it didn’t work for us. Maybe we are disappointed in how our life has turned out. Maybe we blame God for the pain we are suffering. Maybe we just don’t want to face the truth of our own failures and poor choices. Either way, we are turning from the very One who desires to bring life to us, and we are choosing death for ourselves.
Because that truly is the difference between living water and broken cisterns. We can’t live without water. And broken cisterns cannot hold water. Period. We are listening to the lies of the enemy if we actually believe that we can build a life for ourselves apart from God and live. Whether we are in a time of testing through no fault of our own or if we are living with the consequences of our own sin, either way, we will not have life apart from Jesus. Maybe you are in a time of sorrow, pain, confusion, disappointment, or suffering. Maybe you have every right to feel the way you do. God understands your pain, but He wants you to trust Him.
Jesus understood the pain of the woman at the well in John 4. He didn’t condemn her or excuse her. He simply offered to be Living Water to her. Psalm 36:9 says “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light, we see light.” David went through much pain and suffering – some that he didn’t deserve and some that was the result of his own choices. Through it all, however, he was able to see this truth:
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deeps (Psalm 36:5-6).
It is only when we see our pain through the light of Christ that we see light in our darkness. We will see hope in our suffering. We will see life where there was death. We will turn from our own helpless way and seek the only One who can be our help. But we won’t see that light until we come back to the fountain of life.
Let me encourage you today. Don’t forsake God and try to dig your own cistern. It will never hold water, and you will be left high and dry. You may not understand everything that is going on in your life right now, but know this: Jesus wants to be a fountain of life to you. And His fountain will never run dry.