Crossing the Line
If you turned to Jeremiah 2 in your Bible, you would know that it was not going to be a pleasant read just by the chapter heading! Depending on your translation, you might read titles like, “The Results of Israel’s Sin,” “Israel Forsakes God,” and “Judah’s Apostasy.” Not good!
Once in the chapter itself, you quickly find that the Lord is quite perturbed with the Israelites for their repeated line breaking. After listing off the many ways He has cared for them and watched over them, God laments:
“For my people have done two evil things: They have forsaken me -- the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!”
Keeping with this theme, a few verses later God questions, “What have you gained by your alliances with Egypt and Assyria? What good to you are the waters of the Nile and the Euphrates?”
To fully appreciate what the Lord is saying here, we have to understand a few things. In our day and age, with water taps in all our kitchens and bathrooms, we struggle to appreciate just how vital water is to our survival.
In Bible times, however, rivers were life. All major cities and towns were near rivers. All agriculture occurred near rivers. The heart of any ancient civilization beat by a river. The Nile and the Euphrates were especially important because both were in arid environments. The Egyptians and Babylonians relied on these respective rivers for water, for fishing, for irrigation, for everything. These rivers meant life.
So when God asks, "What have you gained by your alliances with Egypt and Assyria? What good to you are the waters of the Nile and the Euphrates?” He is really saying, “You have crossed the line in an effort to find life apart from me. You are seeking to center on things other than me, and what has it gotten you?”
The Lord lets them know that He alone is the fountain of life. There is hope, fulfillment, joy, and peace only in Him. Yet, the Israelites have taken their cracked buckets to lesser streams.
Trying to fill themselves with all that the world offered, they stubbornly refused to admit that their buckets were empty. The few drops clinging to the bottom of the bucket were their only reward for rejecting the fountain of life.
In our culture, life is not centered on rivers. Rather it is centered on self. That is, on the selfish pursuit of our own pleasure and dream fulfillment. We leave the fountain of life because the rivers of Hollywood promise us pleasure and happiness.
We forsake the fountain of life because streaming from the internet is one dalliance after another that we hope will satiate us. We turn our back on the fountain of life because God’s plans seem dull and boring and the world seems to offer so much. We flee the fountain of life for the drying creek beds of sex, porn, money, fame, possessions, and career. Yet, in spite of all our effort, the cracked buckets we carry cannot satisfy our thirst.
Crossing over to dip our buckets in forbidden rivers leaves us feeling dry and empty.
If you want to be filled today, my friends, run to the fountain of life. He has all you need!