Summary: There is a Fountain of Living Waters who never disappoints.
(read Jeremiah 2:9-13)
In his commentary on the book of Jeremiah, Andrew Blackwood says this:
“Many Palestinians were dependent upon cisterns, laboriously carved from the rock. Cistern water at best is flat and tasteless; it is easily contaminated with various types of growth that produce a smelly scum. When the cistern is cracked, even the stale water leeches away; the person who turns to the cracked cistern is totally disappointed. The religious forms of idolatry might look quite impressive, but they did not contain the spirit of the living God.”
-Andrew W. Blackwood Jr.
I want to begin today, pointing out that the very term, ‘broken cisterns’, implies two levels of disappointment. The cistern has no intake, other than the rains, or someone pouring water into it, and no outlet. The water just sits there, and the longer it sits there, the more contaminated and putrid it becomes. So imagine having to use this water, day after day, to wash clothes, to bathe in, or to have to boil it prior to cooking with it or drinking it. The deeper disappointment though, is when that cistern is cracked. It obviously then cannot hold water, therefore, the quality of cistern water becomes a moot issue, since the one coming there to find water will only find dryness; emptiness; futility.
God’s charge against the nation of Israel, through Jeremiah, was two-fold. His disappointment was doubled also.
1. They have left springs of living water, 2. They have dug cisterns for themselves, which cannot hold water.
Keep in mind that it is the preincarnate Christ, speaking of Himself, who says, “They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters”.
This is very important for us to grasp, because it is through Christ that you and I have been granted access to the Throne of Grace. Through His sufferings, he has brought many sons to glory. That’s you, if you are a believer in His death and resurrection as payment for your sin and provision for your life.
It is He that the children of Israel had forsaken, and it is He whom our nation, the great United States of America, has forsaken, and it is He whom we often forsake in our fleshly responses to life.
We’ll look more closely at all of this now, to see that God’s charge against Israel is a valid charge against us also.
I want you to see; 1. THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE CHARGE, 2. OUR OWN BROKEN CISTERNS, and 3. GOD’S PROVISION FOR THE REPENTANT
THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE CHARGE
a. WHEN THE LORD CONTENDS WITH YOU (vs 9 & 29)
If you glance at verse 29 in this same chapter, you’ll see God asking the same question of them that I imagine He asks of us today. “Why do you contend with Me?” That word ’contend’ means to strive against...complain against someone. ‘What complaint do you have against Me? You are the ones who have been unfaithful!’
And if you follow these verses to verse 35, you’ll see that ultimately He wins the argument.
“Yet you say, ‘I am innocent; surely His anger is turned away from me’. Behold, I will enter into judgment with you. Because you say, ‘I have not sinned’.”
Christian, please do not be found contending against God.
You know, when a pastor is counseling with someone who has just suffered a loss in the family, or some other tragic turn in their lives that they don’t understand, it’s not uncommon to hear words of anger or resentment or disappointment expressed against God.
In those times, the pastor has to remember that this person is in grief or emotional turmoil, and gently lead them through with prayer and assurances.
But I’m not counseling you today; I’m preaching the word of God and I’m admonishing you; don’t be found contending against God. He deserves your uninhibited praise and your unconditional surrender to His will. He does NOT deserve your criticism or your unbelief.
But here is the more serious warning; watch out, when you give God cause to contend against YOU.
In this New Testament dispensation, the believer’s sins are paid for and all under the blood of the sacrificial Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
If you have placed your faith in Christ’s work on the cross of Calvary, you stand before God justified...accepted forever in His Son.
But don’t say that you do not have sin. And when you sin, do not call it what it is not. Because God still says today as He did then; “Behold, I will enter into judgment with you, because you say ‘I have not sinned’.”
How can I say this? Because the Holy Spirit let us know through His New Testament writers that God has not changed in the way He looks at sin OR our owning up to it.