Broken Cisterns for the Forsaken God (Jeremiah 2:13)

“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

Two evils are being committed: they were forsaking God, and they were making themselves cisterns that could not hold any water. It does not make much sense as to why someone would ignore the mercies of God and fashion themselves their own means of survival when God is the fountain of living waters which will never run dry. No man will come to His everlasting river and go thirsty. It is absolutely foolish to have the knowledge of God and His unending mercies, and ignore it. If this statement is true, I am the chief of this foolishness.

The Lord has taught me so much in my life but I have thrown it away for myself. How many times have I lied to make myself sound better or seem more godly? How many times have I leaned on my own understanding in one of life’s tough situations? How many times will I have to learn things the hard way? How many times will I take God’s grace for granted? How many times will I forsake the Father and create for myself a broken cistern to quench my thirst? I have always like Gatorade’s slogan; it’s a drink that claims to be the ultimate thirst quencher with the slogan, “Is IT in you?” I am not proclaiming public marketing as Scripture- it has just always reminded me of when Jesus was at the Feast of Booths and loudly proclaims in John 7:37, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” If I were truly drinking from the living waters… What a glorious life that would be.

It has truly been a life I have been pursuing with all my heart this past year. Radically removing things from my life, stepping out of my comfort zone, living for God’s glory, and thanking God for his grace and His Son with every step of the way. The Lord has blessed me immensely as well. Within the past year the Lord has truly given me the desires of my heart. What was it? What changed? For me, Jeremiah 2:13 says it in a way that needs little clarification. The answer is a two-part answer: I focused on God, and trashed the cisterns I had made for myself. The Lord’s grace is amazing particularly in the category of Biblical application!

What are these cisterns? I could probably name thirty or so, but what mattered was the end result: Broken. For me the three biggest cistern’s that I had fashioned for myself was Church, the doctrine of Calvinism, and my own prideful nature. Don’t quit on me yet, let me explain.

*All of these below are from my point of view and my struggles that the Lord has brought to my heart. Prayerfully consider each option before applying it to your own life.

CHURCH

And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”

Matthew 21:13

The Church had lost its reverent feeling from me. I treated it like any other activity; it was a hobby I did once a week. Learning about the Lord is a great honor and should be considered as such. What an amazing opportunity we have in America to worship freely. Thank You Lord!

If we view church as an evangelistic outreach opportunity we are all sadly mistaken. Instead of telling about (or showing) someone the love that God had shared for me, I would just invite him to church. What a weak man I had become. I was lazy, and sadly a different person at church. Church is our homestead to fellowship with believers, grow in the knowledge of God’s Word, and love others. It is not our primary means of evangelism. I had become dependent on Church and could not feed myself.

DOCTRINE

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Colossians 2:8


Doctrine is a great tool when learning about the Lord, but take note that it is not Scripture. The Word of God is all we need. There is nothing wrong with honoring God through reading or teaching doctrine, but as long as it in no way takes the prominence in our conversations, time, and heart. The Word is the Word.

I guess you could say I was a claimed Calvinist for about a month before it just felt wrong. I was claiming hold to a man that wasn’t Christ. It is my desire to, when people look at me, see Christ; not John Calvin. John Calvin was merely a man, and this man had become in my life the equivalent of Mary for the Catholic Church; an idol. I can not speak for all men, but take caution, brother, when we claim any titles other than Christ. Let us preach the Word.

MY PRIDE

A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

Proverbs 29:23

This was the deadliest and most disgraceful one yet. For years I had struggled a little with depression. At first I chalked it up to, “It’s just one of those things, everyone deals with something.” But it was much more than that. I thought I had a depression issue, but it wasn’t until about 2 months ago that I realized it wasn’t depression at all. Before, I would speak at prison, a church, or in the youth group, and shortly after I would leave the pulpit or stage, go on my way home, and then start to feel the depression. I assumed it was the enemy attacking me because I had done such a great work for the Kingdom of God.

It wasn’t until I started to ask God to reveal any unrepented sin in my life until this problem began to show its true face. It wasn’t the enemy’s fault at all. I realized that the reason I would feel down at times was because of my pride- “No one on this planet loved my god like I did”… NO ONE! But instead of feeling defensive I felt self pity because I quickly realized, my god was myself; everything I did was for my glory. God got my leftovers. I had loved myself more than I had loved anything. That was my biggest cistern. I wasn’t drinking from the “Fountain of Living waters.” I was drinking from a broken cistern, and complaining to God that I wasn’t being fulfilled.

The sin of pride in my life has led to deceit, boastful, slander, and lying as well. Because I wanted everyone to experience how awesome I was, I would lie about myself or someone else to make myself look better. Deceit and lying became my primary language. It had gotten so bad at one point I couldn’t distinguish the true stories and the false ones. Saying all of this hurts right now, but the Lord has shown me the only way to eliminate sin is to expose it into the Light. There is hope for those who are in Christ. There is Grace! Seek Him friends and don’t let the sun go down on your unrepented sin.

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The Voice of the Shepherd (John 10:27)

Last night my wife and I were watching the kids in the nursery. I noticed something last night that I’ve never noticed before. There is one particular child that follows me everywhere. I would like to say he looks up to me but he probably views us as the same age. We were playing with the jack in the box (that thing still scares me) which is one of his favorite toys. Out of no where he started whining asking for his Mom. A few seconds pass and his mom popped her head in the door. He did this two other times throughout the evening. It was truly an amazing thing to witness. He was perfectly content, cutting up and laughing, but the moment he heard the sound of his mother he immediately realized his need for her.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;” John 10:27

Jesus was referring to a similar experience. There were several people who walked by, but they were voices of strangers, not the one he knew. Immediately that verse came to mind. But what would the life truly look like if someone followed the voice of Jesus. Even though it is an elementary example I believe that it would look like the child I was watching. He was having a good time, but the moment the voice was heard he left it all. Have you been following Jesus? You can tell by examining the fruits of your life (Galatians 5). Are you in God’s word or do you find yourself too busy? Are you obeying His commandments(John 14:15)?