For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me— the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all! Jeremiah 2:13
When my high school classmate accidentally put diesel fuel into her car rather than gasoline, she had reason to panic. After all, diesel fuel would have ruined her car engine, which needed gasoline instead of diesel. Thankfully, she realized what she had done before she turned her car back on after filling it up. She calmly learned what she needed to do to get the diesel fuel out of her car so that she could fill it back up with the gas it needed. Everything was fine, and her car survived. My friend learned a valuable lesson that day: just because a car is filled up with fuel, that does not mean that it is filled with the fuel it requires. In fact, the wrong fuel can destroy a perfectly good car engine.
The same is true for us. We can fill ourselves up with so many things, but that does not mean we are filled with what we truly need. Yesterday, we talked about the fact that we are all thirsty. We are desperately seeking meaning, purpose, and love. We want to be seen, cared for, known, and valued. Many of us are tempted to quench our thirst with technology, relationships, entertainment, or other things, but ultimately, these things will not satisfy. Just as the wrong fuel can ruin a car engine, these things can destroy us if we let them.
The prophet Jeremiah was frustrated with the people of Israel for turning to other sources to quench their thirst. They turned to Baal, a statue of a false god, to be filled. Because of this, in Jeremiah two, the prophet described the Israelites' actions as getting water from "cracked cisterns that can hold no water." In other words, the Israelites were behaving as if they were filling up cracked water jars that could not hold any water. Looking to Baal for fulfillment would not satisfy the Israelites' deepest needs. In fact, worshiping Baal was destructive to them.
What are you turning to today for fulfillment? You may not be looking to quench your thirst by worshiping Baal, but you are probably looking to something for fulfillment. Maybe you are looking to your best friend or spouse, or the next advancement in your career, or the number of followers you have on Twitter or Instagram. Let me assure you, my friend, these things may cause temporary fulfillment, but they will always leave you thirsty. Looking to them is like filling your car with the wrong fuel. It does not work. It can even be dangerous. Let's commit to changing where we look for fulfillment today!
Where are you looking to for fulfillment? In your journal, make a list of the things you look to quench your thirst. For the next week, pick one of these things to change this week. As temptation arises to turn to that thing, turn to Scripture instead. You may need accountability to turn from these destructive things. Don't be afraid to ask someone to help you turn away from the things that are distracting you from the Lord.
Read Jeremiah 2:1-13 (NLT)
The Lord gave me another message. He said, “Go and shout this message to Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says:
“I remember how eager you were to please me
as a young bride long ago,
how you loved me and followed me
even through the barren wilderness.
In those days Israel was holy to the Lord,
the first of his children.
All who harmed his people were declared guilty,
and disaster fell on them.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Listen to the word of the Lord, people of Jacob—all you families of Israel! This is what the Lord says:
“What did your ancestors find wrong with me
that led them to stray so far from me?
They worshiped worthless idols,
only to become worthless themselves.
They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord
who brought us safely out of Egypt
and led us through the barren wilderness—
a land of deserts and pits,
a land of drought and death,
where no one lives or even travels?’
“And when I brought you into a fruitful land
to enjoy its bounty and goodness,
you defiled my land and
corrupted the possession I had promised you.
The priests did not ask,
‘Where is the Lord?’
Those who taught my word ignored me,
the rulers turned against me,
and the prophets spoke in the name of Baal,
wasting their time on worthless idols.
Therefore, I will bring my case against you,”
says the Lord.
“I will even bring charges against your children’s children
in the years to come.
“Go west and look in the land of Cyprus;
go east and search through the land of Kedar.
Has anyone ever heard of anything
as strange as this?
Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones,
even though they are not gods at all?
Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God
for worthless idols!
The heavens are shocked at such a thing
and shrink back in horror and dismay,”
says the Lord.
“For my people have done two evil things:
They have abandoned me—
the fountain of living water.
And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns
that can hold no water at all!