Today’s Truth

They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water (Jeremiah 2:13, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Oh, you and I are such a thirsty gaggle of girlfriends, aren’t we? Even as believers, we deal with emptiness and bow to idols other than God. We place our faith in the economy, in our finances, health, employment status, politics, marital status, and relationships. When they fail or fumble, we fall apart … and no wonder! They’re all broken cisterns and were never meant to be our source of hope or satisfaction.

Jeremiah knew a little something about broken cisterns. He was just a youngster when he came to know God and began to work for Him as a prophet. He endured year after year of hard times, frustrating people, and complicated disappointments. His message was one that called the people of Jerusalem to turn away from the idols they had been worshiping and back toward the one, true God.

Basically, God was miffed at the nation of Israel and He sent Jeremiah to let them know. He had every reason to be angry! He’d given the children of Abraham a sacred covenant, a promised future, delivery from oppression, and His tabernacled presence, yet they turned their backs on Him.


They doubted His exclusivity and they set their attentions and affections on things other than God. They worshiped idols made of wood and stone. Powerless and worthless. In Jeremiah 2:13, God said of his people: “They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

I read this and wonder. Why would anyone place her trust in the unstable, un-powerful, unfulfilling things of earth when she can place her trust in a stable, powerful, satisfying God? Seems like such a no-brainer – yet don’t you and I do that all the time?

I sure do.

I drink from the broken cisterns of materialism, opportunity, wealth, popularity, relationships and social media.

I have faulty expectations that my kids, husband, dress size and friends are meant to satisfy my heart-needs.

The ultimate broken cistern, however, is my pursuit of purpose in life via things of this earth.

We were created, purposed, to pursue God.

We were created to know God – to be satisfied in Him and Him alone.

To worship Him and Him alone.

Turning away from broken cisterns and turning toward the springs of living water is the key to the contentment we long for. From stagnant waters to the Living Water. The Bible tells us that confession is the path to the spring of living water.

When we eliminate the things that clutter our faith – the broken things we trust in – and place our faith in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, God’s heart swells with mercy, compassion and grace toward us. He forgives and strengthens us.

Who or what are you trusting in today?

When Jeremiah was preparing to take God’s message of repentance to Jerusalem, God spoke confidence and promise to his shaking heart. God’s promise to Jeremiah is valid to you and me when we turn away from the broken cisterns of this world and place our trust in Him. “I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 1:19b).

Jesus is the Living Water our souls are parched for (John 4:13-14). “Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:37-38).

This was such an important invitation Jesus said it in a LOUD VOICE. Did you catch that? Do you hear it in your heart right now?

Let’s say with the psalmist, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2a).

Go to Jesus today. Confess. Believe. Drink. Be satisfied.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, I’m sorry for the times that I’ve drunk from broken cisterns instead of from Your springs of Living Water! Please help me identify and eliminate all that clutters my faith. Thank You for loving me and extending grace.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

How have broken cisterns affected you in the past? How do they affect you in the present? Spend time in prayer about this. Ask God to reveal the broken cisterns you’ve been trying to drink from, then commit to a deeper trust-level today.

More from the Girlfriends

There are so many voices vying for your attention it can be hard to sift through the noise and focus on what rally matters. The Graceologie with Gwen Smith podcast will help you move from distracted to directed.

Directed to hope. Directed to truth. Directed to clarity. Directed to grace. Directed to Jesus. Click here to listen now.

© 2021 by Gwen Smith. All rights reserved.

3 Responses to “Broken Cisterns”

  1. Mandy says:

    Love this! I am so guilty of many broken cisterns. Thank you Jesus for loving me, forgiving me, and always being near to me!

  2. Grace says:

    Thank you very much for this devotion. I have been drinking from broken cistern most days of my life. Trusting more on my finances, friends and social media.
    Today i turn to God and ask for forgiveness, i want to drink from the living waters, Jesus Christ.

  3. Dennia says:

    You just wrote this today?! How early did you get up this morning? Well, joking aside, God must have wanted you to get this message out today and get it out quickly. It’s a message we need to hear frequently.
    But, you know, there are two great ironies at work here: We say we need to pursue God when all the while he is pursuing us! Not only that, but in our searching for him, in our pursuit, he tells us that, all the while he is living within us—in our hearts—through the Holy Spirit.
    Our sometimes worried and hurried pursuit of him really isn’t necessary. Not really. If we just stop and listen, he’ll remind us; he’ll whisper, I am here, my daughter, and I will never leave you.

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