DO NOT FORSAKE the FOUNTAIN of LIVING WATERS: "For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns--broken cisterns that can hold no water." (Jer 2:13)
Ancient landowners would dig cisterns to collect the rainwater. To insure that the cistern would hold water, the landowner plastered it inside with lime. Often cracks would develop and the water would leak out. In like manner Judah had abandoned Yahweh, the “fountain of living waters” (Ps. 36:9; Prov. 13:14; 16:22; Is. 55:1) for man-made powerless gods. The figure of the fountain of living waters emphasizes that God alone can bring the life and refreshment necessary to the thirsty soul (Rev. 21:6). Judah had left the purity of the living waters for the pollution of contaminated broken cisterns that offered no water at all.
The people had committed two evils. First, they had forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters. Isaiah had already used this imagery of God’s blessing (Isa 44:3), and Jesus later alluded to it (John 4:10–15; 7:37–39). The second sin was that of idolatry, referring to broken cisterns. To people living in an arid land where the search for fountains of fresh water and good cisterns to hold it was a daily priority, this imagery was a powerful object lesson. God’s people had forsaken (1:16) Him and served worthless deities. God, the fountain of living waters, offered a limitless supply of fresh, life-giving sustenance. Instead the people chose broken cisterns, which were useless for storing water and useless for sustaining life.
Why was judgment coming to the nation of Judah? The reason was because the people were unfaithful to God and had mixed the worship of Jehovah with the worship of heathen idols. Religion was very popular in Judah, but it was not very spiritual. The people, priests, rulers, and prophets have forgotten all God did for them. Unlike such heathen lands as Cyprus and Kedar, who are loyal to their gods, Judah has forsaken the Lord her God for worthless idols.
Let us not repeat the same mistakes that Judah did – by putting our trust in things or people in this world. Let us never forsake the Lord, who is the fountain of living waters! Instead, let us put our total trust and confidence in Him alone, and join with Jeremiah by praying the following prayer:
O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake You shall be ashamed. "Those who depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters." Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise. (Jer 17:13-14)