There are two evils mentioned in Jeremiah 2: The people had forsaken God and the people have traded God for cisterns. These were not just any cisterns, but broken cisterns. Again we find that God’s people have traded Him for something else, something certainly not as desirable.
Interestingly enough, cisterns only hold a certain amount of water. It is limited. So when we read about trading a fountain for a cistern, the comparison already sounds like a horrible exchange. When we look at fountains, we are reminded of a steady flow of water. It seems never-ending.
The verse makes a great comparison of the two items (two evils). We are left with a choice. Do we want the fountain of living waters, Jesus Christ? Or do we want to gather for ourselves broken cisterns that leaves us forever thirsty? We are a broken people, but we need not choose to live our lives with broken cisterns. Instead, we can accept Jesus, the Living Water. With Him, anything is possible.
“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 2:13 [ESV]
When a tree does not have strong roots, deep water roots, it cannot withstand the situations of life. We see less signs of life—the leaves are withered and there is little fruit produced because of periods of great heat and drought. When a tree has great roots that sink into the water they always have what they need in any situation and “their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
We are a lot like trees; we also do best with deep water roots. Today’s verse says “blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.” That’s how we have deep water roots—when we are deeply rooted in Christ. If we TRUST the Lord, if He is our HOPE and our CONFIDENCE, we will be able to stand firm in life no matter the situation, and we will “stay green” and “never stop producing fruit.”
When you believe, TRULY BELIEVE, in Jesus, living water will flow from your heart (John 7:38). Today we can place our trust in Him for He is our “hope and confidence.” We thrive with deep water roots. We were meant for those deep roots. Do this and the fruit will follow.
“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8 [NLT]
When the Lord spoke to Joshua about crossing the Jordan River, He told him to command the priests to take a few steps into the water and then to stop. That is an interesting order for someone to take because we do not like to only take a few steps. We usually have this grand plan that will be fast moving, be accomplished with little effort, and show visible rewards early.
The command was for the priests to take a few steps into the water, water which was at its typical high of the season, and then stop. Stop. Not continue across. Not rush on through. We like to rush. We like to do things quickly. But God does not think as we think and He does not move as we would always like. We want things in an instant, but there are moments in life where we take a few steps for God and then we must stop. We must wait. We must allow Him to move and walk according to His plan and His timing.
Too often we want to rush. We want to plug along quickly and squeeze as much as we can into the time we have on the calendar. Today, remember those two small steps. Remember the priests who had to stand still in the water after only taking two steps. Thank God for the two steps. Thank God for the stop to rest. Thank God for whatever lies ahead on your path.
“Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’” – Joshua 3:8 [NLT]
I am doing a lesson on Genesis 1 – Creation. I am going to start off showing the children the cross paper and discuss how God knew at the very beginning that we would need a Savior. Then I am going to transition into a discussion on Creation and we are going to cut out our crosses. I am going to read from Genesis 1 and review Creation. As we progress through each day, we will fill in a box on the cross by drawing something that represents what God created on that particular day. After the 6th day, we will fold our cross into a cube and tape it together. Then we will finish with Day 7. Finally, we will split into groups and take turns rolling our cube and sharing something amazing about that day of creation. Afterward, we will gather together and review.
For the cross pattern, simply measure 8 inches by 2 inches rectangular on a vertical sheet of paper. Then draw a line every two inches so that the squares are 2″ x 2″. Then at the second square from the top, put a square (2″ x 2″) on both the left and right side.
When you cut out the cross, fold up the sides at the mid square section and then fold the extra square (the bottom square) up. Use tape to hold the sides together.
This lesson allows the children to use their creativity while learning about Creation.
Water is essential for life. Water is needed for bodily functions. About 60% of our bodies are water. A person can only survive a few days without water. These are things that we all understand. No sane person would argue that a person could survive without water.
Jesus offers us “living water” that if we drink, we shall not thirst again. This water is something we can only receive through Him. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38 NIV).
After a good workout, when it’s a hot day, or after a night of sleep, we typically reach for a refreshing drink. Without a drink for too long a period of time, we experience some symptoms of dehydration. We have a dry mouth, dry skin, a headache or even lightheadedness. We also experience symptoms when we are walking without Jesus. We try to fill the void. We worry and doubt. We feel alone.
Today, make sure you are drinking plenty of water—and be sure to seek Him who can offer you living water, and you will not thirst again.
“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.’ And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'” – Revelation 7:17 [NIV]
“For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD sends rain on the land.’” – 1 Kings 17:14 [NIV]
Elijah announced there was going to be a drought for years and God directed him to a brook for water and he had the ravens supply him with food. When the brook dried up, the Lord sent him to a widow in Zarephath. Now this widow and her son hardly had much left for themselves. Elijah went to meet her and wanted a drink and some bread. The widow says she is gathering sticks so she can make some food for both her and her son. She states, “That we may eat it—and die” (v. 12).
I imagine myself in her shoes, a widow with a child and very little to eat. Here’s a man who God has directed me to feed. I only have so much food—barely enough for myself and my child. Would I make a small loaf for Eliljah and trust that God would provide? Would I trust the promise of God, that the flour would not be used up and the oil would not run dry? In this passage, it is clear to see that God is this woman’s only hope.
If we think about it, she only had that small portion left for the day. It wasn’t much; it would only have lasted that meal. She said they would die. But as she gave what little she had to God, she ended up having enough food for every day that followed. She had no lack. This is the hope that God gives each one of us. To each of us, He has made promises. To each of us, He provides provisions. Today consider what small loaves you are holding back in your own life. Is it possible that He has abundantly more for you waiting if only you would walk in faith?
I like to drink a lot. I need to drink a lot. I am a person who talks a lot so I always need to have a bottle of water with me so that my throat doesn’t get dry. When I went to leave the house this morning, I had to ask myself if I had a bottle of water in the car. I thought I remembered seeing one there, and so I left. When I was mid route, I realized that the bottle was empty. I was thirsty, but the bottle had nothing in it.
The bottle gave me a false impression that it would provide water. It reminds me of Mark 11 and when Jesus cursed the fig tree. The fig tree had leaves and so it gave this false impression that it would provide fruit.
We too need to be careful with false impressions that we see everywhere in our lives. We see people on the Internet and in our daily lives who say that they know Christ and say that they are Christians. Sometimes their game plan is filled with hate, judgment, and cruelty.
Matthew 7:15 says, “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” There are going to be a lot of people who approach us with sheep’s clothing, and sadly we are going to believe what they say. This is where it’s important to read God’s Word and to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
When we hear teachings, and when we hear people talking about certain things, we need to be like the Bereans. They studied everything and looked to see if what the person was saying is what was in God’s Word. Because, if it’s not in God’s Word, it’s not the Truth.
I took my children for a walk today and came upon a goose with a broken wing. All the other geese were separated from this one goose, taking residence in the distance. This one goose was all alone, a prisoner so it seemed. Like our sins weigh us down, so this goose was stuck, unable to fly.
I continued walking around the lake and when I finished my stroll for the day, I came upon that goose once again. To my surprise, he had walked all the way from the one side of the park to the other. He was about to attempt entering the lake so he could rejoin his fellow geese.
When he walked across the ice that had formed upon the top layer of the lake, the ice cracked just enough and he fell through into the water. He was stuck, surrounded by ice. I stood by watching his struggle, hoping that he would overcome this sudden obstacle. It took numerous tries and many pauses in between, but the goose was able to rejoin the others. He was no longer a slave.
This goose reminded me of the common belief that was held in the past, that illness was due to sin. Job’s friends were very quick to point the finger. This goose was separated just like we sometimes separate from our fellow man when they need us most. Rather than being supportive, we point fingers. Rather than joining together to help, we turn and abandon. Even worse, at times we add to the burden.
But God has better plans. He did not allow Job’s friends to have the final answer. He also did not sit by and allow us to stay stuck in the ice, unable to move from our sin. We were separated, but He provided a bridge. We were slaves to our sins, but He has set us free.
That goose did not deserve to be abandoned by his fellow geese. No human deserves to be abandoned or mistreated by another. God has set us free. Galatians 5:1 states: “Christ has liberated us into freedom. Therefore stand firm and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery” (HCSB). We are free thanks to the blood of Christ.
When a fellow man is struggling, we must remember that Paul left us an important message: “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). We need not abandon. We need not mistreat, “but through love serve one another” (5:13b NASB). Each one of us has been that goose with the broken wing. Let us serve each other in love!