Broken Cisterns

Drew Berding

Dying of thirst

(Jeremiah 2:13)

“For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That can hold no water.”
(Jer 2:10)

The following chart contrasts “the fountain of living waters” with “broken cisterns.”

Fountain of living waterBroken cisternsComment
A gift—No work on our partExtreme effort to excavate through hard, solid rockPeople will do almost anything to avoid trusting the Lord
Accomplished in a momentTakes a lifetimeWasted life
HumilityPrideRejected grace
FaithWorksRejected salvation
Fountain is singular—One GodCisterns are plural —Many godsDeut 6:41
Pure filtered water from springContaminated by dirt and mudFilled from roof and surface runoff
Fresh continuously flowing waterStale water—just sits there monthsUnhealthy, scum, mold, bugs
CoolWarmDoesn’t satisfy—John 4:132
Impossible to poisonEasy to poisonSatan’s lies
Unlimited amount—abundanceRuns empty during droughtExhausted when you need it the most
Unaffected by cracks in rockLeaks outUnavailable when life gets tough.
Available anywhereRequires special kinds of rockPs 139:7-103
Impossible to endImpossible to accomplishRom 8:38-394
Eternal lifeEternal deathJohn 4:4 5

Obviously, we should accept Jesus’ fountains of living waters and drink deeply.

Photo Attribution: Marcel L –


  1. Deut 6:4, Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!
  2. John 4:13, Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again.”
  3. Ps 139:7-10,
    7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
    Or where can I flee from Your presence?
    8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
    If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
    9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
    If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
    10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
    And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
  4. Rom 8:38-39, For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  5. John 4:14, “…whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

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NOTE: Bible references unless otherwise stated are from the NASU (New American Standard Updated) copyright the Lockman Foundation.

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