This past Sunday, Levi mentioned this text, the key verse, I think, being: “My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (2:13). Verses 1-12 give a commentary on “they have forsaken me,” and verses 14-37 give a commentary on the second evil, that is, the people seeking substitutes for God.
The nation had turned from her God to idols, idols that Jeremiah likens to broken cisterns. Years ago, Dr. John Olen Strange commented on these cisterns by contrasting them with fountains (of living water).
· There is only one fountain, but many cisterns.
· The fountain is free to all, but a cistern must be hewn out of rock with hard labor.
· The fountain satisfies, but the cistern disappoints (for example, see the prodigal son).
· The fountain is alive, but the waters of the cistern become stagnant and poisonous.
The nation’s politics and idols will disappoint. The things of this world will disappoint. How they will disappoint! Oh, that the people, and we, would turn to their God, the one who truly satisfies and saves!
I tried the broken cisterns, Lord,
But, ah, the waters failed!
E’en as I stooped to drink they fled,
And mocked me as I wailed.
O Christ, in Thee my soul hath found,
And found in Thee alone,
The peace, the joy I sought so long,
The bliss till now unknown.
Now none but Christ can satisfy,
None other name for me;
There’s love and life and lasting joy,
Lord Jesus, found in Thee. -- Emma Frances Shuttleworth Bevan