Cisterns That Hold No Water
IN Bible times, cisterns were man-made underground cavities used principally for the storage of water. During some periods, in the Promised Land, they were the only means of maintaining the vital water supply.
In recording a pronouncement of God, the prophet Jeremiah referred to cisterns in a figurative sense, saying: “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.”—Jeremiah 2:13, King James Version.
Having abandoned their God, Jehovah—“the fountain of living waters”—the Israelites had turned to shaky military alliances with pagan nations and to the worship of impotent, false deities. Such hoped-for places of refuge turned out to be, to use Jeremiah’s analogy, nothing more than leaky cisterns that were devoid of any protective or saving power.—Deuteronomy 28:20.
Is there a lesson for us today in this historical example? As was the case in Jeremiah’s day, the eternal God, Jehovah, continues to be the only Source of life-giving waters. (Psalm 36:9; Revelation 4:11) Only from him, through his Son, Jesus Christ, can humans receive everlasting life. (John 4:14; 17:3) Yet, like Jeremiah’s contemporaries, masses of mankind today choose to reject and even undermine the word of God as expressed in the Bible. Instead, they place their reliance on expedient political solutions, empty human reasonings, and futile God-dishonoring ideologies and philosophies. (1 Corinthians 3:18-20; Colossians 2:8) The choice is clear. Where will you place your trust? Will it be in “the fountain of living waters,” Jehovah, or will it be in “broken cisterns, that can hold no water”?
[Picture on page 32]
Terra-cotta figurine of a mother goddess found in an Israelite grave
Photograph taken by courtesy of the British Museum