There were many different things that God’s people did when they turned their back on the living God – the list of sins that would be needed to describe all their ungodly activities would have been very long! But when, through the prophet Jeremiah, God began to speak words of rebuke, he reduced all their sinful behaviour into just two categories.
Firstly, they had deserted the only source of living water and secondly, they had tried to generate their own ‘water supply’ as a substitute for the living water that flows from the heart of God.
In Israel, underground cisterns were vital for the storage of water for use during the dry season. Without a good cistern people would die through lack of water. A cracked cistern was useless, water would flow into it alright. But the water would all leak away through the cracks so that when the water was most needed, there would be no water there.
God uses this picture to speak to His people about what they had been doing. He uses the need for physical water as a parable of the need for the living spiritual water, which sustains God’s people through all the ups and downs of life. The first sin of God’s people was to decide that they wanted an alternative source of supply, so instead of constantly coming back to the only source of living water, they did what mankind has tried to do throughout history – they built their own cistern, which embraced everything from idolatry to sexual immorality. They finished up believing that good was bad and bad was good and going in the opposite direction to the ways of God.
God had provided for them everything that was needful for living in covenant relationship with the God who had created the world and everything in it. But pride in the heart of man will always want to build an alternative way, and say it’s better than what God provided in the first place. Ultimately this is the foundation for every alternative belief system, false religion or moral order that has ever risen up in the heart of man and practised on the face of the earth.
It’s easy to look at the people of Jeremiah’s day and ask, “How could they?” But all we need to do is look at our own generation and see that 21st century man is no different. Part of the reason why I believe God put the vision for Ellel 365 into my heart was to ensure that within Ellel Ministries there’s a constant flow of living water from God’s Word and that people are able to know how to build a cistern in their own lives that is sound and without cracks.
Prayer: Help me, Lord, to only ever want the living water which flows from your heart to the heart of man. And give me the determination to rebuild sound and crack-free cisterns in my own life, so that the Water of Life will always be available to me throughout my days – even in seasons of drought. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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