There are many ways that people may go astray. As you look at your life, you may see pathways that have led you astray. God informed the prophet Jeremiah of two fundamental empty pathways that His people have taken. These ways are so destructive that they can adversely affect the trajectory of our lives. He addresses these errors in a formal summons of God’s judgment,

“Therefore I will yet contend with you,” declares the LORD, “And with your sons’ sons I will contend.” (Jeremiah 2:9)

The word “contend” has the significance of a formal lawsuit against Judah. George Santayana reminds us , “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We understand the importance of this statement but why is this principle so often ignored? Approximately 2500 years ago Jeremiah leveled this indictment against the kingdom of Judah,

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)

Let’s examine these two evils. First, they’ve forsaken God. He was not in their plans. God wasn’t a priority in their lives. The people thought they could live their lives without God. When we leave God out of our plans we must realize that something else will take His place. Nature abhors a vacuum so we find a substitute to fill the void. If God is not in the picture, then we may believe that anything is permissible.

The second evil they committed was to create substitutes for God. We also dig our own cisterns, cisterns that are broken and can’t hold water. Have you ever developed your own plans apart from God and then wonder why you experience difficulties? What are some of the broken cisterns that you’ve sought to fulfill your thirst?

God is described as the fountain of living waters. Jeremiah’s audience was living in an arid climate – access to clean drinking water was a life or death matter. If you’ve been hiking or backpacking you know how critical it is to get clean drinking water. There are few rivers at the higher elevations so you must either pack in your water or know where to find it. I was on a backpacking trip and I met a couple guys getting some brackish water out of a puddle. I invited them to follow me and a brief distance down the trail was a cold, clear refreshing spring with plenty of water. They were elated! Too often we settle for the brackish water and we forsake the fountain of living waters. Jesus helped the woman at the well see there was a better life available to her,

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

Don’t settle for broken cisterns when the fountain of living waters is available to you.

RickAssociate Pastor – Discipleship.  The Church at LifePark

Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University

Follow me on twitter:  rickhiggins5