For the most part, the first half of the Old Testament reveals the building up of the nation of Israel. Beginning with the book of Genesis we find God calling a man named Abram to become the father of God’s chosen people. Continuing on through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, we find God giving His people guidelines to live by. In the book of Joshua we see the Jews finally possessing their Promised Land. And with books such as 1 & 2 Samuel we see God developing their leadership with kings such as David and his son Solomon.
In contrast to how the first half reveals their rising up, the last half reveals their falling down. Most of the last half of the Old Testament contains either the prophecies of those who were sent to forewarn the people of coming judgment or the details of what life was like during their years of captivity. Among these many great prophecies is the writings of the prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 2:11 Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. 12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. 13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
God accused the Israelites of doing two terrible things:
- The forsook God who provided them with a fountain of living water
- They developed for themselves broken cisterns that could hold no water
Water is often used in the Bible to symbolize spiritual life. Jesus told the woman at the well – “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” (John 4:10) On another occasion our Lord also said: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” (John 7:37-38) Finally, at the conclusion of the Bible we read: “And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17)
In contrast to a cistern that holds stagnant water, God wants to provide His people with a fountain of living water. God wants to give us spiritual life that flows freely and is always refreshing. John MacArthur writes in his commentary: Israel had abandoned the Lord, the source of spiritual salvation and sustenance … and turned to idolatrous objects of trust; Jeremiah compared these with underground, water-storage devices for rainwater, which were broken and let water seep out, thus proving useless.”
Everyone is looking for something to satisfy their soul. Some turn to alcohol and drugs while others use sex and immorality. Some men look to money to make them happy while many women rely upon their physical appearance. Yet as the old song says – “Only Jesus can satisfy your soul.”
God’s fountain of living water will never run dry. It will never become stale or stagnant. It will always be alive and refreshing. It will always give us more than what we need.