I’m haunted by this scripture in Jeremiah: “My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water (Jer. 2:13).”
This topic of living water has been recurring in my heart and my studies for quite some time. Ezekial tells of a stream that comes out from the temple and becomes a river. And he explains that “where the river flows, everything shall live (Ez. 47:9).” And the Lord says that if we believe in him, streams of living water will flow from us. In John 7:39, John explains that “When he said ‘living water,’ he was speaking of the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him.” And Isaiah 44:3 says, “For I will pour water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring and my blessing on your descendants.”
Why am I so thirsty? Why is anyone so thirsty? Why aren’t we overflowing with an abundant measure of living water? It’s a rare occasion when someone is saved within the walls of a church these days and it’s so sad. Because it seems like church is a gathering of dead and dying people just struggling to make it from Sunday to Sunday. Why aren’t we alive?
I think it’s because we have dug our own cissterns. We have created a message that caters to the people instead of sticking with the truth that reveals and heals. We’ve trusted in a false word of unconditional acceptance without ever talking about repentance. Where is the fear and trembling? Where is the reverence for God that causes us to examine our ways and turn from them? A broken cistern will appear to have a purpose and create a false sense of hope and security, but kill those who trust in it. Because it doesn’t hold water! There’s no life in it. Nothing to sustain. Nothing to revive. Desperately thirsty people will gather around a broken cistern and pray for water, and die there waiting.
When Peter began preaching in Acts on the day of Pentecost, scriptures says that, “when the people heard this, they were cut to the heart (2:37).” There is power in the work of the Holy Spirit that our broken cisterns cannot duplicate on their own. When people are not cut to the heart, they are compelled to think that everything is okay and there’s no need for repentance. But don’t forget that “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death (Prov. 14:12).” That’s the way of the broken cistern.
Before Jesus ascended, he told his disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to come. So they devoted themselves to prayer until the Spirit came. They didn’t get antsy and create their own program because it was their duty. They waited and prayed. And then the time was ready, and the Spirit descended, their work began and it was a mighty one! And people were saved. Three thousand in one day! That is the work of the Holy Spirit. That is what living water does. When the Spriit comes, people are cut to the heart. There is true repentance in the Land. There is an awakening of epic proportions and no man can take credit. It’s an act of God and it humbles everyone.
These broken cisterns are a tribute to generations of men and women who want to do the work of God, but instead of waiting to be filled, they dig their own wells and compel the dying masses to come. But if there is no Spirit, there will be no life.
It’s time to pray. To come before the Lord in repentance and to wait on the Holy Spirit to fill us with water so the thirsty can drink and live. So we can live again. So the church can be revived. So our lands can be healed. Holy Spirit, pour yourself out on the dry and thirsty land.
“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not grow weary. They shall walk and not faint. Teach me Lord to wait (Isaiah 40:31).”