“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
Israel had committed two sins. The first was one of omission: she had forsaken her God. Her second sin was one of commission: she had replaced her true God with false idols. Man’s heart, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Using imagery that those residing in Judah would understand, Jeremiah compared the nation’s actions to someone abandoning a spring of living (running) water for broken cisterns. The most reliable and refreshing sources of water in Israel were her natural springs. This water was dependable; and its clear, cool consistency was satisfying. In contrast, the most unreliable source of water was cisterns. Cisterns were large pits dug into the rock and covered with plaster. These pits were used to gather rainwater. This water was brackish; and if the rains were below normal, it could run out. Worse yet, if a cistern developed a crack it would not hold the water. To turn from a dependable, pure stream of running water to a broken, brackish cistern was idiotic. Yet that is what Judah did when she turned from God to idols.
Oh, how many people today have hewed out a little cistern for themselves, and they drink from their own cistern! Of course they are not finding satisfaction. For example, every man who has made a million dollars thirsts for more—he wants to make the second million. The same is true of fame. There is never enough to satisfy. Our nation has abandoned God. We have left the life saving grace of God and started seeking things that are only worldly ambitions. “Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” (John 4:10)