Today, I’m sharing thoughts that were planted in my heart five years ago. I had so many troubles in my life, my friends were swamped in troubles, and it felt like there was no hope. When a friend first shared this Bible verse with me, I thought she was crazy. 

You will too:

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.

Jeremiah 2:13

Seems a little out there, right?  Let’s dive in:

“…have dug their own cisterns…”

Way back when, people dug huge holes in the ground, lugged water into them jug by jug, and then covered them, so they could stockpile water closer to home.  

Easier than walking to the river over and over again.

Once you were done digging.  And trekking with heavy jars.

And if you didn’t mind drinking stale, muddy water. 

Digging.  So much work.  So much sweat.  So much effort.  But, we all need water. 

Think of how often you’ve swapped stories about what’s sucking all your energy right now, often with no end in sight, because you need the goal at the end.  That one—or two or three--relationships in an impossibly tough place.  That goal that is just out of reach, no matter how hard you try.  That bad habit that always comes back to haunt you.  Always. 

What else does the verse say about these cisterns?

“…And have dug their own cisterns, Broken cisterns that cannot hold water…”

All this work.  All this effort.  And the cisterns are broken.  The water leaks out.  It’s not there when you need it.  We work so hard, and everything just breaks again.  

I’ve been there.  You have too.  And you’ve got people in your life also pulling their hair out when all their work and effort just leaks away into nothingness.

Why does this happen?  Why can’t we get a break?

God’s answer is tucked into this verse too:

“…They have forsaken me”. 

Forsaken.  Not one of those words we use every day.  What does it mean? It’s not about forgetting.  It’s not about things we’ve never learned or experienced.  Forsaken is something we abandon.  

All this hard work digging, all this frustration at how leaky our cisterns are, it’s all because we’ve abandoned God.  We’ve turned our backs on God, and made our own rules and schedule for our lives.  

God is love (1 John 4:8).  And we’ve gone and abandoned love. 

And along with that, we’ve abandoned the good things God gives us, like forgiveness, trust, and self-control.  Of course, all for reasons that feel incredibly right and justifiable… until we dare consider the selfishness and fear and anger and laziness wrapping around all our reasoning. 

And here we sit, desperate for water, but surrounded by broken, leaking cisterns and the weariness of so much hard work that leads to nothing. 

But that’s not the end.

God is our answer!

 “…They have forsaken me, The spring of living water…” 

God is our spring of living water!

A spring, not a cistern! 

A spring, gushing from a never-ending supply of fresh water!

Fresh water. Living water. Water we never have to work to access, to drink, or to live.  Water that is freely given whenever we need it.   

Jesus doesn’t want us to stay in despair, living off dirty, tepid water.  And, he’ll give his water to anyone who asks (Matthew 7:7). 

Take a closer look at what’s sucking all your energy and filling your days with stress.  An honest look.  When did that journey abandon God and his love?

All it takes is one prayer, and you can leave that cistern behind, and taste God’s sweet, gushing, living water.  I can tell you that it works. 

Jesus said, “But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

God loves fill us with his love, giving us his living water.  And he’s really good at fixing broken things.  Broken hearts.  Broken relationships.  Broken habits.  You name it, he has a perfect track record for fixing it.  

Wondering what to pray?  Start with this: “Jesus, I abandoned you, and am tired of drinking from my broken cistern of _________________.  I’m turning back to you, desperate for your living water. Amen.”  

There’s more to this story.  The Bible is full of truth about how God’s powerful love invades lives and teaches our hearts to run to his spring instead of our old, broken cisterns.  If you want to dive deeper, the book of John in the Bible is a good start. 

Read this verse one more time:

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.

Jeremiah 2:13

Not so crazy, this time, right?  My prayer is that as this truth makes its home in your heart, that you will find yourself sharing it with more and more people in your life.  Because we all get bogged down in messy cisterns.  And we all need some living water.