March 14, Sunday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Jabez Yeo who formerly served at Remnant Church in Manhattan, was first posted on October 18, 2014.  Jabez is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BS) and Columbia International University (M.A., Muslim Studies).

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Drink from His Cistern”

Jeremiah 2:13 

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” 

The prophet Jeremiah ministered during extremely challenging times. At the start of Jeremiah’s ministry, the northern kingdom of Israel had already fallen to the Assyrians, despite the warnings of Hosea and Isaiah. While these prophets rebuked Israel for their religious harlotry (shown through their worship of idols and other gods) and their political harlotry (engaging in foreign alliances instead of trusting in the one true God), their message fell on deaf ears. Sadly, even though Judah witnessed Israel’s downfall from a distance, they did not learn from Israel’s mistakes but rather engaged in the same sins themselves. This then led to God’s verdict of Judah’s sinfulness in forsaking Him and digging their own “broken cisterns” (Jeremiah 2:13)

To understand God’s charge, we have to understand what cisterns were used for during the time of Jeremiah. They were receptacles in the ground that were used to store water, either from a nearby spring or from rain-fall. As cisterns were about 15 to 20 feet deep, water was hoisted up with ropes and a bucket, similar to a well. Unfortunately, there were several unavoidable problems: First, a cistern could only hold a limited supply of water. Second, over time, these receptacles would begin to crack and water would leak. Additionally, scum would begin to collect in the cistern and would have to be dispersed by plunging the bucket several times before drawing water. Thus, the Israelites constantly had to draw water from a supply that was limited, leaking and rarely fresh. 

It is then no surprise that God uses the reality of cisterns to illustrate the sins of Judah and of our lives today. While most of us no longer worship hand-made idols or align ourselves with foreign nations, we still engage in idols (power, wealth, success, lust, affirmation, etc.) that leave us thirsty and unsatisfied; either due to limitations in quantity and/or taste. In contrast, God uses the reality of a spring to illustrate the pleasure that can be found in Him. Unlike a cistern, a spring’s supply of water is endless and there is no need to go to another source. Additionally, because the spring is outdoors and always running, there is no need to worry about leaking or about the quality and freshness of the water. The spring is a constant source of refreshment and joy for the people that draw from it. 

Centuries after Jeremiah’s ministry, Jesus declared that the living water He gives would become “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). And as He had invited the Samaritan woman, He is also inviting us today to drink from His living water instead of the broken cisterns we may run to. Today and each day, let us resolve to drink from Jesus and from Him only. 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to believe that You alone can satisfy. Sometimes the things of this world overwhelm me and I succumb to temptations instead of trusting in You. Help me to taste and see that You are good; and believe that I will be blessed when I take refuge in You (Psalm 34:8). Help me to experience Your life-giving water again and again. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Jonah 4