Consider this verse concerning The Lord’s complaint toward apostate Israel as spoken by Jeremiah, the ‘weeping prophet.’
“For my people [Israel] 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.” (Jeremiah 2:13 (KJV)
The O.T. happenings with Israel are a “shadow” of picture of the reality we face in our Christian lives, even as grace believers. We learn much from Israel’s folly.
“Which [Israel’s religious practices] are a shadow of things to come; but the body [substantive reality] is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:17 (KJV)
Now, what exactly was the “two evils” we note in our text, Jeremiah 2:13? Well, they are right there in the verse
There were two principal evils among the many that Israel was guilty of. The Nation Israel was the professing people of God. In using the term “my people [Israel]” The Lord is saying, yes, they committed these evils and yet they remained his people. God’s covenants with Israel cannot be annulled. This of course is not meant to condone or encourage there sinning. This was to be security, to be a relief for them if they would properly heed their conscience sense of sin. They had not been “forsaken” by God who in reality was still available to them as “the fountain of living waters.”
Of course, if you know the Gospels you will recall who Jesus used similar phraseology in speaking to the Samaritan women at the well.
“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14 (KJV)
Here Jesus was speaking of His Spirit as “the Spirit of Life” to be dispensed into all men who will believe to receive Him as “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” One day, at His 2nd coming, all of believing Israel will receive of His Spirit (cf. Eze. 36:27). This water can also be viewed as the “grace of God” that we have “in Christ.” It can be compared to water that refreshes, and brings cleansing … so as to renew our walk. Grace is the key to the “living water,” because it makes dead sinners alive, when they receive the grace of God in the person and work of Christ.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5 (KJV)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works [that we perform], lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
Then even after believing to receive His grace and life, His grace continues to support and maintain our spiritual life, and issuing in our growth in the faith of this new “life.” His life is everlasting, ever flowing within us. Just as a “fountain,” denoted the life of Christ is abundant in us, always flowing is as water of a “fountain” in us as streams.
- To ‘forsake the Lord’ is to forsake this the fountain of living waters. This is the first of these two evils; which is done when the people of God are remiss in the exercise of faith in the Lord. They then grow cold in their affections for Him, and neglect his words to us.
- But they also “… hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns [containers], that can hold no water” - this is the other evil.
They abandoned God and turned to the world, and the things in it. They trusted in the things of the world for life, joy and security, trying to find pleasure and satisfaction in them. The inventions of the independently minded religious man are really empty, having no power of real satisfaction. Empty manmade religion as found in much of Christendom today is like ‘a well without water’ (2Peter 2:17) and ‘clouds without rain.’ People may attend in hope of fining satisfaction… but there is little or none. The only real satisfaction is in maintaining an inner life relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
The independently minded religious man may follow and attend to religious duties, they are put in place of Christ as our ALL. For Israel it was forsaking the worship of God, and followed after idols, having no divinity in them, and can yield no help, relief, or give any comfort, or afford any supply in time of distress and need. Such false religious practice a flagrant folly - to leave and turn away from ‘THE fountain of living water’ for a cistern, and especially a broken one. The little water is in a cistern is idle and becomes stagnant. With a fountain, the water is living, and always running, available, and ever springing up.