We start strong. Determination and strength come easily. Faithfulness flows from our hearts.
Then life happens.
Jeremiah understood this reality. Standing in his hometown of Anathoth on a wet, wintry day, Jeremiah could look east and see grain fields rich with life. But just beyond those fields stretched the bleak and barren Judean wilderness—a land not sown with seed.
The Lord used a similar image when He told the Israelites how they had started out as a devoted people, “following after Me in the wilderness, through a land not sown” (see Jer. 2:1-13). But then they had turned from His ways. As a young nation, Israel had left the lush Nile delta to follow God through the desert to a new land. But once in Canaan, where rain literally meant life or death, the Hebrews abandoned God and followed the Canaanites’ worthless idols that supposedly gave rain.
Like many villages thereabouts, Jeremiah’s hometown of Anathoth had no spring of flowing “living” water. So its residents dug cisterns—deep holes with plastered walls to catch and keep rainwater. Thus God said, “They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters [for] broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13).
In other words, the people of God had traded the best for the worst.
It sometimes is tempting to view God as good for salvation but a little lacking for real life. But the Lord isn’t a set of jumper cables we remove as soon as we’re up and running. We didn’t start out to follow God only to abandon Him when we grew up.
Think about it: how many cisterns of your own have you dug just to watch your life leak through the cracks? If you’re like me, way too many. How wasted are all our efforts apart from God! Our own efforts cannot hold water—a beautiful metaphor pointing us to trust in the Lord alone for all our needs . . . even in a land not sown.
He will always be our Father. We never outgrow the relationship.
The soul of man bears the image of God; so nothing can satisfy it but He whose image it bears. —Thomas Gataker
Adapted from Wayne Stiles, Going Places with God: A Devotional Journey Through the Lands of the Bible (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2006), p. 122. Used by permission. Images courtesy of BiblePlaces.com.