“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).
Judah had forsaken God, the fountain of living waters. He was their provider of all things, he was their guide through all of life, he was their deliverer from the hands of their enemies. But they had forsaken him, and now they were in the hands of their enemies. God had caused them to be taken as captives because of their sin; they brought this on themselves. “Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, when he led thee by the way?” (v 17). Because they had forsaken God, he tells them “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts” (v 19).
Two objects are contrasted from each other in this verse: a fountain and a cistern. A fountain gushes forth from the ground. It has its own source of water, its own spring. God calls himself the fountain of living waters. He alone is the source of all good. In contrast a cistern, or a well, is just a holding tank. It has no source of water except for what comes into it from outside of itself. It would be dry unless water came into it from somewhere else. Furthermore, the cistern in this text is broken, it has cracks so that any water that does come in leaks out and leaves it dry and empty. So also are the pursuits of sin in this world.
This wicked world is a dry, broken cistern. By way of our sins we come to this broken cistern time and time again to draw of its water. This water is not water at all, but putrid slime. We drink of this horrible poison over and over. We must remember that the cistern of this world can never satisfy us. In fact, we leave thirstier than when we came to it. When we steal, lie, fornicate, and murder we are never satisfied. Our lusts do not make us content. We must learn to drink only of the fountain of living water. God, the fountain of living water, is the most pure, clear, beautiful stream of water there is, God has revealed himself to us in his Son, Jesus Christ. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Hebrews 1:1-4). God has delivered us from our sins by providing the Mediator, Jesus Christ. He has paid the ultimate price and removed our sins. We must realize (though we might never fully understand here on earth) how much we cost Christ, and what we cost God. What a great reason to humble ourselves and to live thankful lives drawing water from him, the fountain of living water. He has provided us clear guidelines on how to live and bring glory to his name alone. He has given us his revelation of Scripture. Young people, drink and be satisfied. It will not leave you parched or empty.