“Lessons From A Broken Cistern”

June 12, 2018

Pump and barrel
We use this old pump as a decorative feature in front of our home office. It has no date on it but was manufactured by the Columbiana Pump Company in Columbiana, Ohio.
Looks like Mollie photo bombed this picture!

 

“Lessons From A Broken Cistern”
Message summary: 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 the living water supplied by God continuously overflows with His abundant blessings!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“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).

OuthouseIndoor plumbing is one of the greatest blessings of modern living. Yet it is usually taken for granted. It is a relatively recent innovation in human history. My grandparents on Mom’s side did not have indoor plumbing in their Missouri house till they were in their 60’s. My dad, who was a plumber, installed an indoor bathroom for my grandparents (his in-laws) when he and Mom got married in the mid 1940’s. But the old three seater outhouse was still functioning all through my childhood in the late 50’s and 60’s. It was especially helpful when there were large family gatherings.

Brooksyne recalls when her grandparents living on the mountain in Arkansas had no indoor plumbing and also used an outhouse and carried water in from the well for cooking and bathing. Sometimes the well went dry and her grandmother would walk 3/4 mile to the spring and carry back a bucket of fresh spring water. During her visits the grandchildren helped her carry the buckets. There were even a few years in the early 60’s when Brooksyne’s family in West Tulsa used an outhouse after her parents purchased their first home.

At the time it didn’t seem that old fashioned; it was just the way it was and part of our colorful memories of childhood. At that time we weren’t thinking about how it would seem in 2018 anymore than kids today consider what they are doing will seem like in 2068.

But indoor plumbing can also provide some colorful stories!

Cracked toilet tankMark  is a friend of ours who works as a project manager at JK Mechanical, an HVAC firm where we serve as chaplains. He shared an interesting story about a problem in his home when he went, along with his family, to Grove City College (about 250 miles away) to attend his son’s college graduation. When they returned home they walked into a BIG mess.

While they were away their toilet tank had cracked (see photo) and flooded their home. Since it wasn’t just the water that was in the tank when it cracked but a continuous flow since the fill valve would never shut off but kept running and running, ruining the carpet and even a portion of the walls where the water had wicked up. Some of their furniture was also ruined.

Mark has a Bible College background so I asked him if he could think of any spiritual lesson from this experience. He recalled the daily verse about “broken cisterns”. After all, his cracked toilet tank was essentially a broken cistern, which by definition is a receptacle for holding 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 wants 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.” A cistern is a receptacle for holding liquids, usually 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 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 “the 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 the living water supplied by God continuously overflows with His abundant blessings!

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, gluttony, bitterness, lust, 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.


Yesterday we showed a photo of miniature horse and cart we passed on very busy Rt. 322 east of Ephrata, PA. I asked, “Can anyone tell us what kind of equipment the driver is hauling in the back beside the boy with the straw hat?”

Our friend John Keefer, who grew up in one of the farming valleys north of here, responded:

To answer your question about what was on the back of the Amish wagon what I saw reminds me of a chicken plucker we used when cleaning and dressing chickens for market.

Dad or I would kill the chickens by chopping off their heads on a wooden chopping block with an ax. Instant and painless death for the chicken. We then would use an old open water heater to heat the water in an open tub where we would totally soak the chicken in the hot water. Then we would start up the machine with this large drum with rubber tits all over it. It would spin around as we would hold the chicken against it thus removing the wet feathers. All the feathers would be taken off and then the last step we would hold the chicken over an old coal oil stove where the tiny hairs would be burn off and ready then to be butchered and dressed for market or just cleaned out and sold whole.

Oh my, I can still remember the smells and sight of all that work with my dad. Wish I could now spend a day with him! Great memories looking back now.


Pump and barrel 6/11/18
Here’s a photo of our fountain pump which we can see and hear from our office. My latest project was sanding down and painting the old milk jug which we now use as a planter.

GEM cistern pump
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. It likely included a few dead critters. The photo is a similar pump I saw several years ago in Franklin County, PA along a bike trail.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Drinking At The Springs Of Living Water”  Video  The Calvary Men’s Choir, Magherafelt, N. Ireland

“Enough”  Video   Chris Tomlin

Finally today:

Old Windmill Farm puppies 6/9/18
Eenie, meenie, miney, mo….catch a puppy by the toe! Which of the eight pups will you take home? We had lots of fun cuddling these Shih Apso pups on the Old Windmill Farm on Saturday.
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