Jeremiah 2:13 For my people 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.
The prophet Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, was called to prophesy for God at a young age, but he became known as a major prophet in the Old Testament before it was all said and done. He was sent by the Lord like many before him in an attempt to turn God’s people back to Him. The children of Israel were steeped in idolatry, and had been for sometime, and they had long since forsaken the one who had delivered them. The Lord had never forgotten them, despite Israel’s constant turning to sin. The Lord had grown frustrated with His people’s blatant disregard for the Father; therefore, he sent Jeremiah to plead with them one last time to turn back before they suffered their deserving fate.
Babylon was a rising world power at this point in history. According to Smith’s Bible dictionary, this theme verse occurs around the year 629 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar reigned as king of Babylon at the time and would later take God’s children and the kingdom of Judah into captivity. The Lord used Nebuchadnezzar to decimate Jerusalem and bring God’s people into bondage, because they would not heed Jeremiah’s teachings.
The Lord was willing to deliver His people if they would only change their ways and serve the Him. But there is an interesting comparison that Jeremiah makes in our text. The prophet compares the chosen people to broken cisterns, or vessels that can hold no water. A cistern is defined as—a container used for storing water. A synonym of the word cistern that is commonly used in the scriptures is the word vessel. Jeremiah says that they had committed two evils: 1) they forsook the Lord, who is the fountain of living waters, and 2) they had hewn out cisterns, broken cisterns, that would hold no water. Jeremiah’s reference to broken cisterns or vessels in verse 13 actually referred to the idolatrous gods that the people of Judah had sought after in forsaking the Living God. The prophet says that these broken vessels would hold no water because they did not possess the living water of the one true God. They were idols, fake gods, and they had no power at all! It is unbelievable to me how God’s chosen people fought against every one of His commands, yet they were willing to worship an inanimate object even to the point of offering their children as sacrifices to it!
When I compare our society with the kingdom of Judah, I see similarities. I see people’s lives that are filled with immorality, drugs, alcohol, money, deceitfulness, and many other things. These things could easily be deemed as idols in their lives! People’s lives are literally in shambles because they have ruined themselves with idols that have done them nothing but harm! As a result, their heart is like a broken vessel. As long as people continue to put stock in these false “idols,” their lives will continue to resemble that of a broken vessel. Only the fountain of living water can quench our thirst, and heal the cracks in the vessel of the heart that are created by sin.