Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Drink or Dig?

The prophet Jeremiah taught at the same time Lehi did in Jerusalem, but instead of taking him away to a promised land, the Lord instructed him to stay with the people and urge them to return to God. He obeyed but his efforts were in vain. The people refused to repent and brought upon themselves the very destruction Jeremiah and Lehi had warned them about.

At one point the Lord told the people through Jeremiah that they had 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). Reading this you and I get a sense of the meaning, but the intensity of it is lost on us—people who turn on a tap to get hot or cold water and then watch it run down the drain without a thought as to what is happening.

In Jeremiah’s day water was a valuable commodity. Recognized as absolutely necessary for human existence, water procuring occupied much of their time and thoughts. And once procured, protecting that water became equally as important. Every family member would be constantly reminded of the importance of water, and no one would dare waste water. It was much too precious. Water was life.

So when the Lord offers them a fountain (source) of living waters they should have rejoiced and drunk freely. Instead they rebelled and spent much effort to build themselves cisterns that broke and were unable to hold water which meant they went thirsty and died.

This is difficult to understand. When the Lord says, here drink from the living waters I’m giving to you, why would anyone turn their backs on that water and instead go to all the work of building and trying to fill their own cistern? It makes no sense, and yet repeatedly throughout the history of mankind we see people turn away from the life-sustaining waters offered by the Lord and instead spending a great deal of time and effort in an attempt to build leaky cisterns.

The question this makes me ask myself is, “Am I drinking from the Source or digging my own well?” Drinking is easy. Digging is hard. But the adversary does a very good job of confusing those two.

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