Broken Cisterns

By D’Ann Davis

“For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” – Jeremiah 2:13

A cistern is a storage tank for water that can be cut into the ground or rock, or built out of other materials. In a Middle Eastern climate, cisterns were supremely important in Jeremiah’s day. These vessels held precious water that was necessary to sustain life. Jeremiah uses cisterns to paint a picture of the spiritual state of the Israelites at the time. They had chosen to serve idols over the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Their idolatry was grievous to the Lord. Not only had they rejected Him, but they had chosen idols that were impotent to save them. They were broken cisterns that could hold no water, and the Israelites had rejected the Living Water in their pursuit of these idols.

Many of us do that today. We commit idolatry and reject Christ the Living Water. We cut ourselves off from the very life source we need. We will never live life to the full or abide in His love when we reject Him. We will find ourselves spiritually thirsty and bereft of fulfillment.

Among other things, whether through relational idolatry in emotional dependency, addiction to pornography or masturbation, or acting out through same sex relationships, we can find ourselves building broken cisterns that can hold no water. All of our efforts to find life apart from Christ are broken, misguided efforts and will leave us empty, just like the cracked cistern that drains its water.

But there is another way. Jesus says in John 4:14, “Whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty again.” We can allow Christ to fill our empty souls and stop building our own cisterns. We can rest in His love and trust His hand. He says of the one who drinks the water He gives in John 4:15, “The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” This is our hope, the Living Water of Jesus Christ. Our own ways will fail us, but He will never fail us. Let us cast aside our idols. Let us drink from the Lord and never be thirsty again.