“For My people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13 HCSB
The Israelites in Jeremiahs day are said here to have committed a double evil. They had a fountain of living water they could drink from. This fountain supplied an endless supply of the clearest, purest, freshest water that could ever be found. It is not only water but living water. This water we know to be a picture of the Spirit. But the people abandoned this fountain of living water. In essence they had abandoned God.
How had they done this? By making idols. By removing God from their first love and loving and worshipping other gods. They no longer found their joy and delight and fulfilment in the worship of God but from other pursuits.
Today idolatry can be much more subtle than erecting a wooden image of a false god. What does it mean to have an idol in my life?
Well where do you seek power, approval, comfort and control?
Tim Keller has 20 questions to help you diagnose if you have any idols in your heart. *
“What is an idol?
It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give…
An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I ‘ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.” There are many ways to describe that kind of relationship to something, but perhaps the best one is worship.”*
So to put anything in the place of God in our lives is idolatry. And idolatry is to abandon God, the fountain of living water. How come? Think of a marriage where the wife has the husbands first love. If the husband then begins to love others above his wife, he has surely abandoned her.
He may show up for dinner and pay the bills but in his heart he has abandoned his first love.
And so the Israelites abandoned their first love. And they dug for themselves cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.
A cracked cistern is a source of joy, pleasure and fulfilment. God is the fountain of living water who’s supply is constant and refreshing.
All other idols and lovers are like cracked cisterns. They disappoint. One day you return to get a drink and find it no longer provides, satisfies and even makes you unwell as the water is no longer fresh. The truth is that any thing we put our hope in for true fulfilment and life other than God is not only a poor substitute for living water but it’s cracked. It will leak. It may provide instant pleasure and gratification but one day you return and it’s gone.
Not so with our loving Father. He is the fountain of living water and only the water of His Spirit can truly quench our deepest thirst and cause us to be like that tree planted by streams of living water , constantly bearing fruit.
To remain and abide in the Vine is to acknowledge the source of our living water and the way to posture ourselves to drink from it. We are promised we will bear much fruit if we abide in the Vine and draw from the never ending source of living water.
“Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost!”
Isaiah 55:1 HCSB
* 20 Questions Tim Keller Uses to Diagnose the Idols of the Heart ›
*(pages xvii and xviii of Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters)
Tags: cracked cisterns, fountain of living water, idols, jer 2:13, Jeremiah 2:13, leaky cisterns