Have you ever eaten or drank something that made you sick? What was it?
Do you remember what the exile was? That’s right. The exile was when the Jewish people were taken captive by the Babylonians and forced to leave the promised land for 70 years. Jeremiah was a prophet during the exile.
Jeremiah the prophet explains to us why God’s people were sent into exile in Babylon. Listen to how he describes the sin of the people here:
Jeremiah 2:13. for 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.
Jeremiah is using a figure of speech to describe the sin of the people. He’s comparing their sin to drinking water from a “broken cistern.”
The land of Israel can be a pretty dry place, and finding natural, fresh, flowing water can be really hard. So the people would dig big holes in the ground called cisterns. Then they would line the cistern with plaster to turn it into a giant bowl. This cistern would then catch the rain water and the people could drink the water. This was much easier than having to walk for miles to find a well or a stream for water.
But often these cisterns would crack and break. Then they would be filled with mud. Or sometimes animals would get into them and poop. Now the water was gross and even deadly.
God is telling his people that when they “forsake him” and chase after other gods, or idols, or anything that they love more than God, it is like they are drinking gross, disease infested water.
Jeremiah is giving us a warning here. We need to be careful about making anything God gives us more important than God himself. Our “broken cistern” of disgusting water can be anything that we use to make us feel important, or valuable, or happy. Music. Sports. Games. Good grades. Another person even. These things are good things that we can let control us. When we have to have something or be the best at something in order to be happy, that’s when we know that we have “forsaken (rejected) God.”
When Jesus was on earth he stood up in front of all the people and declared that he was a stream of living water. Not muddy or poopy water that will kill you, but fresh water that will always make us happy. Why? Because Jesus never makes you earn anything. He never asks you to be the best or to do more. He’s the best! He’s done it all! So just trust and love him the most, and you will never be disappointed.
Because of Jesus we don’t have to prove how good or important we are any more.
With Jesus you can always be happy knowing that he’s not keeping score.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Look in the fridge for any food that has gone bad. Should you eat this food? Talk about how when we chase after things to replace God as what makes us special it is like eating bad food that will make you sick.
You are my fresh water that satisfies me. Help me to stop trying to show off and be the best at things that can never make me truly happy.
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