“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.
I have to wonder if today’s generation, with water pumped from filtration systems, can truly appreciate these words of Jeremiah. Do they know the difference between a Spring or Cistern? I grew up on a farm with a spring. No matter how dry the season, we never ran out of water, and it always ran cold. There were several springs in our area that had been harnessed, with pipes coming out of the hill, the world was invited to fill jugs from these cool clear sources.
My aunt had a cistern. During dry seasons at her house we were more careful with the water we used, because she’d have to pay to have it filled if it ran dry. Her water was refreshing as any, but she had a jug in the refrigerator because her tap didn’t run cold.
Spring water rushes through rocks to purify it and comes from deep in the earth making it cool. It constantly moves. Cistern water just sits there. It may have moved a bit when the water was running or rain ran in, but for the most part it was still and warm.
Plus, cisterns have to be dug out and lined with clay or, in our day, a metal tank so the water doesn’t soak into the soil. They’re a lot of work. Springs occur naturally and need just a bit of effort to harness them. Even in this day of technology and filters, bottled spring water is still a favorite.
So, when God says we forsake Him, the Spring of Living Water, and instead dig our own cisterns, he’s describing something that in my childhood would have been considered foolish. No one who had a good spring on their property would have ever resorted to a cistern.
Today we have one more analogy. Most of us have city or county water we get a bill in the mail every month for the privilege of allowing the world to supply our water. But what about your spiritual supply, does it come from the world, a cistern of your own making or the Spring?
Jesus called Himself a Spring of Living Water in John. The refreshment of the Trinity has been available to the people of God from ancient times, but just like in the centuries before Christ was born, many are attempting to find peace and refreshment from the world or their own means, digging, shovelful at a time, their own cisterns. They work hard just to settle for still warm water when the pure, cool Springs are offered at no cost to everyone who truly believes.
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