The scripture that I am about to share convicted me so much. It cut deep and I’m so amazed at God’s grace in light of it. I often think I miss the point when God reveals sin to me. It’s almost an automatic “Oh I am so unworthy, I will try to obey you better next time God” but if this is the extent of Christian faith, that is a sad, cheap game of moralism and a cheapened view of the Cross. And I fall into it all the time in all honesty. But what if the point of God revealing our sin and us talking about our shortcomings pointed to something greater? What if it wasn’t merely about our activities and habits? What if God loved us enough to warn us that sin cannot deliver what it promises to? He does show us that! In fact, God promises us in the Bible that there will be more pleasure in his presence than from all the lying promises of sin. Yes, I realize that “lying promises” shouldn’t go right next to each other, but sin is twisted and luring in that way. You don’t need objectifying evidence for that truth; we all know that our pursuit of sin leaves us dry. So it is for our good that God is holy and has sent Jesus to sever sin and redeem what has lost its shalom/peace.
Jeremiah 2:13 says, “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.”
He could have named specific sins that Israel committed, but he didn’t. It starts with God himself, not us. If we begin with us and what we have done to fail God, it’s ultimately about our outward ability to obey him, which is not Christianity (although so many people think it is). God cuts straight past our outward activities and habits and confronts our affections and desires. Why? Because God wants to free us from enslavement. If we merely manipulate our outward behavior, we won’t be freed up from bondage. We are finite beings who can only become satisfied in our infinite Creator, not other finite things. There’s two parts in this verse that I think completely reveal God’s true character.
The first part of Jeremiah 2:13 shows God’s sustenance and that He is set apart from everything we see around us. A fountain overflows; it is never-ending, it cannot run out. It’s hard to wrap our minds around because we live in such a finite, objectifying world, but God doesn’t work that way. When we desire God, we will be left desiring more of him and we will get more of him. He doesn’t have to give us anything outside of Himself for us to be satisfied. This is the difference between God and idols (relationships, friends, job, money, etc.). God delivers what he promises, but any created thing or person replaced for God cannot attain that for us. Don’t get me wrong, those things and people are gifts and I think they can be enjoyed in a God-honoring way, but when they begin to replace the Fountain by which those things flow, it not only fails us, but grieves God’s heart. It’s like he is screaming at us saying “I have so much better for you! I chose for my Son to become your deepest need and joy before creation was laid. I want you to find life as it was intended from the start.” His heart is to give us our deepest need, when we often think he tries to rob us of it. If the essence of God is love, perfection, and holiness, why would we be able to find true satisfaction in any other thing? Like I said, we can and should enjoy other things, so I am not saying that we need to give up relationships, friends, jobs, money, or health. In fact, a Christian’s life should use those things to show the world that our true Treasure lies in Jesus Christ, not in worldly treasures.
The second part reveals that we settle for far less than what is offered to us in Christ. We have tried to fill our longings with empty, broken wells that cannot bring us what we sought after in the first place. This plays itself out in so many ways and is such a sad reality. I can’t help but to think about addictions, such as alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual sin, food addiction (although this isn’t limited to “addiction”). Those addictions are just physical forms of a deeper problem, which is a problem within our hearts. It comes down to pride because we think we know better than our Creator. Sin is what we do when our heart is not satisfied in God. This is why it grieves Him when we sin. It’s not because he wanted to make up a random list of rights and wrongs just because he’s God and he can, but because he loves us enough to point us to freedom.
God doesn’t merely call us out of sin, but calls us to freedom. This is good news friends; that God doesn’t just want to deliver us from our sinful activities, but that he wants to give us new hearts, new appetites–appetites that don’t settle for the fleeting pleasures of this world. He doesn’t want us to merely flee from sin, but flee to something far better, far more satisfying. This is only found in trusting Jesus. He is the Bread of Life. He came to live and die for us on this earth so that we would stop trusting in broken cisterns. He couldn’t handle the effect that sin had on us, so he overcame it at the Cross. If you keep chasing and chasing without being filled, I am pleading with you to seek Jesus even if you think you don’t need to. Some of you might think you’re okay without Jesus because all your pursuits seem to bring you satisfaction. But I promise it is just a matter of time before you realize how exhausting it is to chase something or someone that wasn’t created to give you the life you need. Psalm 63:3- “Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You.” Jesus is better than all our pursuits and all our failures and all our sin. If he is better than life itself, it would only make sense that we could only find salvation in none other than Jesus.
For His glory,