“Broken Cisterns”

September 30, 2013

Pump and barrell 9/27/13

“Broken Cisterns”

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“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13). “Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:38).

Pump and barrell 9/27/13In the course of our visits to the various companies we serve as chaplains, we enjoy travelling through scenic off the beaten paths. I follow my dad’s example in looking for variety when I travel. Usually there are numerous ways to get where you are going! The only problem is that Brooksyne who is directionally challenged can rarely remember a route to a newer location because I take a different one each time if possible.

We travel on some roads that make you feel as though you’re traveling back in time about 100 years with more horse and buggie and old-order Mennonite bike traffic than autos on some days. We pass many one room schoolhouses where the children, of all ages, are gathered in a circle eating their lunch or engaged in a ball game often with the teacher pitching the softball.

We also enjoy stopping by the home produce stands and so often they have something else for sale as well. Last Friday we stopped at a stand that displayed an old pump with water gushing into an old barrel. It was for sale so I bought it, cleaned it up, and placed it right outside our office window where we can see and hear it!

I like old pumps and through the years have taken quite a few photos of pumps. My first memory of seeing a water pump was at my grandparents’ small white frame house in the tiny town of Harwood Missouri about 100 miles south of the Kansas City area where I grew up. I distinctly remember that, upon our arrival, I’d run over to the water pump which was right beside the house. There I’d vigorously pump the long handle till water came gushing out. What a vivid memory I still have! However we knew not to drink the unhealthy water since it was merely run off which had gathered in a shallow cistern. A cistern is a receptacle for holding liquids, usually water.

Methodologies
used in everyday living during the Bible period are archaic in comparison to the newer and easier methods implemented over the generations. Yet the timeless illustrations in Scripture convey spiritual truth that is always applicable. Some 2,600 years after Jeremiah wrote the first passage, we all, regardless of where we live, need water to survive! Jeremiah lived during a time of great national apostasy (falling away from faithfulness to God) and persistently called the people to repentance. In fact it was at the time of his ministry that the Kingdom fell and the people were taken into captivity. Among other truths this period of history reminds us that judgment does eventually come.

In the daily text God declares, “My people have committed two sins.”

1) “They have forsaken me, the spring of living water.” Consider these words, “They have forsaken me.” That is the theme all through the second chapter and really the entire book. We can be sure with the loud testimony of Scripture and history that there are always consequences to forsaking God.

Living water is a wonderful descriptive phrase concerning the spiritual life God desires to impart to His people. This is what the people had forsaken. In this prophetic declaration Jeremiah is speaking spiritually using a natural example all can identify with. Yet then, as now, so many have forsaken the Lord and this source of living water, the only source of truly abundant life. Consider the words of Jesus: “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

2) “And have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” God desires to supply living water but man seeks his own flawed substitutes, exchanging the spiritual living water with efforts to build their own cisterns, “broken cisterns that cannot hold water”. The Full Life Study Bible note on this passage observes, “They seek life and pleasure in the idolatrous things of the world, things that have no real or lasting value”. Today we note so many ways the vast majority are digging their own cisterns, determined to live life their way rather than God’s way.

Jesus said in John 7:38 “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” Perhaps our Lord is referring to the passage in Jeremiah when He made this statement, where God identified Himself as a spring  of living water.

Today we encourage each reader to turn to the Lord and partake of the living water that comes from Him. Broken cisterns leak and dry up but living water supplied by God continuously overflows!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we know that drinking fresh water is essential to our health, and without it we battle bodily disease and struggle to survive. Drinking from the springs of living water is essential to our spirit as we battle sin diseases of pride, jealousy, rage, bitterness, lying and so many other carnal attitudes that can result in spiritual death. As we drink from the springs of living water we flush out those carnal diseases that would seek to destroy us. Scripture assures us that we will be fully alive in Your Spirit as we drink regularly from Your life giving streams of living water.  Amen.



Brooksyne’s Note: I go back farther in time than Stephen’s memory when it comes to water pumps. My grandparents, who lived on the mountain in Arkansas, had no electricity or running water. When water was needed we were commissioned to go out to the hand dug well and bring in a bucket of fresh drawn water by lowering a bucket on a rope deep into the water. When the bucket hit the water it dipped and filled with water and then we pulled the rope up by hand. There were a few summers when the well went dry and then we had to walk about 1/4 mile to the spring and lug home a bucket of water. Since we were young we probably spilled half of it before we got back. I’m thankful for those memories and experiencing the value of hard work.



Pump and barrell 9/27/13
Here’s a photo of our “new” fountain at the corner of our house where we can see and hear it from my office desk.

Pump and barrell 9/27/13
A close up of the old pump. It has no date on it but was manufactured by the Columbiana Pump Company in Columbiana Ohio. A similar pump on Ebay sells for over $100.00 + shipping and I got the whole kit and caboodle for a fraction of that. A large 550 gph electric pump keeps the water running. It still makes a clanking metal to metal sound as the piston hits the inside of the pump housing. (It appears that Mollie is quite taken with the new water pump as well.)

I looked through previous daily encouragement messages for other pump photos I have taken through the years. Here’s a sampling:

Pump, Lancaster County PA
Ester and I checking out an old pump beside an old order Mennonite church. Notice the tin drinking cups hanging on the pump.

Old water pump
In this photo I was visiting with Rufus and his wife who are old order Mennonites. Rufus is demonstrating the pump for me. Notice the big hole for the 60′ well just beyond the pump. I sure hope they keep that covered!

Old order water pump
I’m not sure what all this pumping contraption does!

Old water pump & chair
Visiting with our friends Lloyd and Janice we saw this old pump in the background.



Today’s Suggested Music
and SupplementalResources


“Spring Up O Well”  Video  Phil Wickham  Nice to hear one of the old songs we sang as young Christians brought back! (This recording cuts off early)

“Fill My Cup Lord”  Video  A studio version of a song that especially compliments the theme of our message today.  It’s a prayer for each of us, “Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.”

“Drinking At The Springs of Living Water”   Video 
Haven of Rest Quartet with Lorin Whitney

“There Is A River”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band


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