DRINKING FROM BROKEN CISTERNS
1. The "Weeping Prophet of Israel," Jeremiah, was sent to stem the tide of rebellion against God.
2. His writings stand apart in God's Book, being pungent, acrimonious, and caustic in sarcasm and ridicule.
3. He was denouncing a sinful people, and trying to scare a nation from ruin and damnation.
4. STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN, seems to be written in red in his message!
5. We find him saying: "Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number." Jer. 2:32.
6. Even today a maid doesn't forget her ornaments!
A. She may go out in public half dressed or less, but she still will have on her ornaments of jewelry.
7. Nor does the bride of today forget her attire.
A. Later on, she might try to forget the man that she married but she will always treasure the clothes she married him in.
8. In this type of sarcasm, Jeremiah showed Israel how she had treated God.
9. He said again: "Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord." Jer. 3:20.
10. He exposes their degradation in these words: "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" Jer. 5:30,31.
I. THE MALADY OF BROKEN CISTERNS!
A. One of the most vitriolic or caustic rebukes that Jeremiah spake was this: "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and have hewed out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." Jer. 2:13.
B. To me, this picturesque language is most appropriate.
1. While living in Australia, where in many areas water is a very valuable and scarce item, I saw how cisterns work.
a. There were different ways of making cisterns.
1) Some were large, corrugated metal containers placed under the roof of the house or sheep shed.
2) Others were dug here and there, in low places, or runoffs, to catch rain water and seepage from the higher ground.
2. One of the major emphasis of the Australian sheep and cattle farmer is the keeping of his cisterns in good repair and cleaned out.
a. All breaks or cracks were repaired immediately. Gen. 26:15-22.
II. BUT ISRAEL HAD CHOSEN HER BROKEN CISTERNS!
A. Israel had deliverance from bondage by the hand of God, and were pledged to Him at Sinai.
B. There they drank of the fountain of living waters and feasted on manna from heaven, as God gave them divine guidance and provision.
C. But God also warned them not to be overwhelmed with the wonderful blessings they would find in the promised land.
1. He says to them: "Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage." Deut. 6:13.
D. But Israel straightway turned from this fountain of living wathers to broken cisterns!
1. David says: "They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel; but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." Psa. 106:13-15.
E. God allowed them to drink from their desired cisterns: but they had to pay the terrible price!
III. HOW THEIR BROKEN CISTERNS BECAME CORRUPT.
A. Streams of ignorance, false doctrines, moral decay and idolatry fed the broken cisterns hewed out by Israel!
1. They forsook God's found of truth for human traditions and false religions.
2. Their heathen wives led them into idolatry, as they accepted pagan gods to be like nations about them. B. Streams of traditions and false doctrines retained a part of God's law, but polluted it with the deadly poison of error.
1. Still, God begged Israel to return. Read, Jer. 6:16.
2. The contamination and pollution of doctrinal error and the corruption of idolatrous practices accumulated as filthy debris adn sediment in their broken cisterns, threatening the lives of all who were lured to drink therefrom.
IV. THE FATAL STEPS OF ISRAEL'S DEPARTURE.
A. It was fairst by an infusion of human religion that Israel turned from living waters.
1. The infiltration of false doctrine was slow and gradual; not by a sudden surge.
a. This was accomplished by a lack of respect for God's authority in His Word.
2. There was the failure to properly teach God's Word to every generation. Deut. 6:6-9.
B. Another source of contamination was the desire to be like the nations about them. 1 Sam. 8:4-9.
1. This finally culminated in complete rebellion and refusal to walk in the old paths.
2. Israel longed only for the broken cisterns that held no water.
V. A FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS OPENED!
A. We are taught: "For whatsoever things are written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." Rom. 15:4.
1. Or as Paul said again: "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come." 1 Cor. 10:1-4, 11.
B. So, as Israel had a fountain of living waters, from which they could freely drink, it was also promised for us: Read, Zech. 13:1.
1. And again the fountain was foretold: Note, Zech. 14:8,9.
2. This fountain would be opened when there would be One Lord, and His name having all authority. Matt. 28:18-20.
VI. JESUS SPOKE OF THIS FOUNTAIN OF LIFE:
A. To the Samaritan woman, Jesus said: "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be a well of water springing up into everlasting life." Jno. 4:13,14.
1. Here is a definite promise that the prophesied fountain would be opened!
B. Later, on a feast day in Jerusalem, Jesus said: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Jno. 7:37,38.
C. This fountain of truth was opened unto all men shortly thereafter, for Peter set forth the terms of salvation on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
D. When men were convicted of sin, righteousness and judgment, Jno. 16:8-11, and asked what to do to be saved, the answer was plain; and so were the results. Read Acts 2:36-38,41.
E. So, multiplied thousands drank of the fountain of life, as terms of salvation were spread abroad.
1. In one generation, that word covered the world. Col. 1:23; Rom. 10:18; Matt. 24:14.
2. There were no broken cisterns then!
VII. ANOTHER DEPARTURE AND MORE BROKEN CISTERNS!
A. The church of our Lord had a glorious beginning; but things were to change.
1. E'er long, man began to seek man-made cisterns, rather than God's pure fount of life!
B. Look at what Paul told the elders of the church at Ephesus: Acts 20:29,30.
C. He also wrote these warning words to Timothy: 1 Tim. 4:1-3.
D. So we see man turning to broken cisterns which frail human beings have dug!
1. Such despise the true doctrine, and love religious error and the human churches it spawns.
2. Paul told Timothy of such: 2 Tim. 4:3,4.
E. The debris, rubbish, pollution and corruption of sectarianism and secularism contaminated the man-made cisterns.
1. But people still despise the fount opened in Jerusalem for the desire to join churches that men have built!
F. The departure of spiritual Israel of today has paralleled that of physical Israel of old.
1. There is the same infusion of human doctrine and traditions of men.
a. This has come about due to a lack of respect for God's authority.
1) This in turn arises from failure to properly teach and instill God's word into the hearts of the young.
2. Again, in this dispensation, people desire to be like the nations about them.
a. Partaking of immorality and adulterating the work of the church.
b. This culminated into such rebellion that they say: "We shall not walk therein!"
VIII. WE TODAY, AS JEREMIAH OF OLD, PLEAD FOR THE PEOPLE TO TURN BACK TO THE OLD PATHS: TO THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE.
A. We are only asking that men go back to the original gospel as preached by inspired men in the first century.
1. Obey the same simple terms of salvation, and accept the same guidance in faith, doctrine and practice that was set forth under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
2. Remember the song that we often sing: "There's a fountain free, 'tis for you and me; Let us haste, O, Haste to its brink; Tis the fount of love from the Source above, And He bids us all freely drink."
1. Friend, we can still drink of that same pure fount of truth which was opened in Jerusalem.
2. We can still believe in the same Savior, obey the same gospel, and be added to the same church as they were. Acts 2:38-47.
3. Why drink from the broken cisterns man has hewn out?
4.Why imbibe the pollution, contamination and corruption that has settled therein all these years?
5. The word of God is still pure and life-giving!
6. So, why not come and take of the water of life freely? Rev. 22:17.
By Jim Sasser
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