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The Depravity of Judah

(Jeremiah 5:1-6)

Lesson 6 -- fourth quarter 1996
October 6, 1996

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications

Tell me about cisterns for us today.

September 1987. We had just returned to the Mexico mission field after a four-year leave. While the house to which we returned had been occupied most of that time, it had been vacant for a few months. But the water purifier still worked. Or did it?

Something didn't seem quite normal about this stuff we drank. "But," we reasoned, "we have been gone for quite awhile. We just need a day or so to grow accustomed to different-tasting water." Perhaps we would have grown accustomed to the taste. However, I am harassed with doubts. You see, as one day sizzled away into another, the water's taste worsened to such a degree that the drinker could even smell it before the liquid touched his lips! The stuff tasted and smelled dead!

I didn't tell you we stored our water in a covered underground cistern. Nor did I tell you that during the property's unoccupied, untended time, someone had broken the cover of the cistern. Finally it dawned on me that a connection likely existed between the open cistern and the dead water. So I decided to investigate.

First, I shut off the water supply. Next, I pumped the cistern empty. Then I descended into the depths to investigate. I found death and decomposition. Had it not been for our use of a water purifier, we literally would have been drinking toads, lizards and frogs! (And you think you are sickened at the mere notion!) As it was, we only had to deal with the taste, smell and thought. Thankfully. Oh for a fountain of pure water!

Though many times I have been grateful for cisterns, I am all for fountains of living waters. Cisterns break and leak. Cisterns get contaminated. Cisterns allow water to stagnate. Therefore, those who, having a fountain, use cisterns are foolish, dangerously foolish.

These lessons apply to the spiritual dimension. Those who turn away from the Fountain of Living Water commit the worst evil imaginable. When they turn to defective cisterns of their own making, they multiply their evil. So we need to ask ourselves, How might we be guilty of this?

Prayer and Bible reading place me right at the Fountain where I may drink deeply of the Living Water--fresh, clear, pure, healthful. That Fountain flows continually; I needn't bother attempting to store a supply of water for the time when the flow stops. Furthermore, if I try pouring the Living Water into a cistern I will be tempted to skip the Fountain in favor of the cistern. And upon checking the cistern, I will discover it empty, for the Living Water will stay in no cistern. Upon reflection you will see that as far as Living Water is concerned, all cisterns are "broken cisterns, that can hold no water."

When my communion with the Lord and my meditation on His Word are not foundational to my daily existence, I have forsaken the fountain. When my vim and vigor for the day come from the people I'm with, or from the anticipation for a certain project, book or activity, or from my occupation, I have hewn out a leaking cistern.

When my accomplishments and my acquisitions become the focus and purpose of my daily life, I have forsaken the fountain, I have staked my satisfaction in the leaking contents of a broken cistern.

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