Living in the United States of America offers many great benefits to its residents. Among these wonderful benefits is one that many of us often take for granted which is clean water. There are parts of the world where people do not have clean water, and they do not have the means in order to generate drinkable water. In ancient times, one of the ways that people used to store water was through building cisterns, which were reservoirs for catching and storing rainwater.
The Bible mentioned cistern(s) six times. In one particular passage in Jeremiah 2:13, God said in reference to the Israelites “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 nation of Israel was meant to stand out among other heathen nations around them. God called them out not because they were unique or righteous but because He was good and gracious in making them a light unto the Gentiles. However, instead of obeying His commandments in serving Him with their whole hearts, they chose to serve the idols of their own making. Time and time again, He would chastise them and give them a chance to repent. They would repent for a short time but then went right back into their idolatry. In the end, their wickedness was so great that God gave them over to their enemies’ hands. They have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters; therefore, He has also forsaken them and gave them over to their sins and idolatry.
As Christians, we can look at the example of the nation of Israel and think to ourselves that we are in good standing with God since we don’t worship some carved images like they did. However, idols are not necessarily some carved images that we worship. These can very well be the idols within our own hearts. Sometimes, these can be so subtle that it is very hard to detect them. Anything or anyone that takes up all of our heart’s desire, love and affection more than God, is an idol in our life.
If you are working for a company, you may desire to be an excellent employee at your place of employment, which is an honorable aspiration. However, if success, appreciation and recognition are all you constantly strive to achieve regardless of what it takes, this is an idol. You are drinking from the broken cistern.
If you serve in the ministry in any capacity, it is a good desire to have a successful ministry that reaches many people. However, if ministry becomes more important than your family or if being well thought of by the people you serve is your driving motive, you no longer serve the Lord but your own idol. You are drinking from the broken cistern.
If you are a stay-at-home mom, it is a good desire to raise wonderful and well-behaved children. However, if you begin to see your children less as gifts from God, and more as your own trophies of accomplishment to receive the praise of others, your children are now your idols. You are drinking from the broken cistern.
Those above examples and there are many more that we can think of in our lives, all started out as good desires but over time, they begin to capture our hearts, and affections. They started to take the place of God in our lives. Tragically, these idols can never satisfy. They leave us empty and broken. Only God, the fountain of living waters, can truly satisfy our hearts’ longings. Jesus said in John 4:13-14: “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 in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
What are the things or who are the people that are capturing your hearts more than God right now? What is it that you are willing to go to any length in order to have? The Lord wants to fill you with His fountain of living water. If you draw your joy, fulfilment and satisfaction from the Lord Jesus, you will never want anything in life (Psalm 23:1). However, you must humble yourself and come to Him asking for help if you know you are struggling with idolatry within your own hearts. God alone is worthy of all our worship, love and adoration. And those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).