“For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me— the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all” (Jeremiah 2:13, NLT)! God was speaking metaphorically about His people’s abandonment of Him for the created gods of the nations around them.
Speaking to His people through the prophet Jeremiah, God admonished them concerning two matters: first, He was no longer their primary focus; they were no longer seeking Him for the living water that quenches all human longings. Secondly, they had dug their own cisterns. They had become a rebellious people, and seeking to be self-sufficient, they forgot about El-Shaddai, the All-Sufficient God. They found the proliferation of other gods more attractive because these gods made no demands of them. The only problem was that their cisterns were leaking.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a cistern is an artificial reservoir used for storing liquids like rainwater. In other words, a cistern is a man-made, water-collection and storage system. It is a typology of self-sufficiency, of man trying to harness nature for his benefit. Cisterns can develop leaks and need to be carefully monitored and maintained.
Like cisterns we, too, are reservoirs. Our hearts are storage systems, serving as repository for attributes such as rebellion, pride, bitterness, fear, unforgiveness, envy and selfishness. Like cisterns, our hearts can also crack and leak out; therefore, it is important to stop occasionally and take stock of what we are carrying.
For example, what thoughts do you think? What do these look like when you leak? As Scripture reminds us, as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Elsewhere we read that “a good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him” (Matt. 12:35, NIV).
Like the children of Israel, we, too, rebel when we choose to go our own way. We rely on our strength and limited wisdom. It is only a matter of time before a crack develops to remind us of the limitations of trusting in our ability to run our lives. Soon, rebellion, pride, bitterness, fear, unforgiveness, envy and selfishness start to leak out of the abundance of our hearts. But we don’t have to stay in this place. The God who did not give up on Israel will not give up on us. He asks us to return to Him because His mercy and His anger do not last forever.
What fountain are you drinking from? Or are you drawing from your own cracked cistern? Check for leaks, and you may very well discover from what water supply you have been drinking.