“They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves . . . 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 2:5, 13
If you went to Passion 2011 or have picked up a copy of the CD, then you know the song “All My Fountains.” If you were there, you may remember that they mentioned how the roots of that song were in Scripture. If you were like me, however, you either missed their explanation of where it was, or they just never gave the explanation in the first place. I’m not sure which one it was.
Whether they pointed out or not, I found at least part of those roots in Jeremiah 2., and these verses started to reshape my perspective on sin and what it is.
In these verses, we get the image of large containers designed to store water. The people would pour their water stores into them, and they seemed to be doing them a deal of good. Maybe for a couple of days, they were able to go to these cisterns and scoop out the water they needed to drink, and water their crops and herds.
I can imagine, though, that sometime around the third day, the people realized that the water was disappearing much faster than it should have been. There was no way that anyone had used that much water in two days. They likely didn’t think all that much about it, however, and just went back to the well, drew more water, and refilled the cisterns. Maybe, in ignorance, the people continued this routine for a week or two, curious as to why the water was vanishing so quickly.
The people never really stop to think that maybe the reason they are losing water is because the cisterns they’ve made for themselves are faulty.
Here is where I found a new understanding of sin; it is nothing more than putting hope into something that does not satisfy. The consequences of sin, then, are only what results from pouring that water into a cistern that cannot hold the water.
I use the word “only” with a hint of sarcasm. For the people of Judah who poured their water into these cracked cisterns, they were wasting something essential to their survival in the desert. A cracked cistern in a desert is a huge deal because they likely had to transport that water from some oasis or well for miles before they reached their homestead or village.
Now, if they poured that water into the cisterns they dug and it started to slowly seep out, then they’re losing water that they had planned on having for weeks maybe even months. If they lost the water too quickly, then not only would they have been able to take care of their families or farms, but they also may have not had enough water for a return trip to the well.
If the consequences for not storing water in the appropriate places can be this costly, then how much more must it be so for the contents of our soul? Without the water they needed, the people would waste away physically. If we are pouring out our passions, our love, our entire souls into things that ultimately are unable to hold them, we are wasting valuable parts of us. By pouring ourselves into these worthless obsessions, we become worthless ourselves.
The promise here, though, is incredible. God’s not only a safe place to store your water, the contents of your soul, but He is the fountain of living water. He not holds what you pour in, He fills it Himself.
Think about that next time you’re singing “All My Fountains.” Ask if there’s any place where you’re wasting valuable parts of who you are on things that cannot offer this living water.