With Pastor Steve on vacation, Rob preached from Jeremiah 2:13, which talks about God’s people forsaking living water to dig their own cisterns. Rob said the first truth here is that we are naturally thirsty people because God made us that way. Yet, sometimes we search for other ways to satisfy this thirst. This is one reason fasting is so powerful, he said. When he goes more than one day without food, he realizes how much his body is always saying, “Feed me.”
One example of a person trying to dig their own cistern is the woman at the well (John 4). She had been trying to find meaning in relationships her whole life, yet it had never worked. Once she found out that Jesus was all about, she brought the whole town out to hear Him, Rob said.
“With the enemy we’ll never be satisfied,” he said. “That’s why Jesus compared Himself to an eternal spring. Our nature is trying to find our own way. We have to fight through that. God helps us fight but it’s not a natural thing.”
Rob said the second truth in Jeremiah 2:13 is that many people try to find substitutes for God through things like drugs. Yet, they will never satisfy. The danger we face is trying to combine the two. In other words, we dig a cistern to collect the water God offers, but try to not go back to the well too often.
The lesson from Israel’s journey through the wilderness was they needed to collect manna daily. If they gathered too much, it got full of worms and stank. The point: God was teaching that He wants us to seek Him constantly.
“He was saying, ‘Come to Me every day,’” Rob said. “We try to collect blessings and live off them. . . . People build memorials to God, but you can’t rest on the altar. A spring is constant. He is our provider. We have to go to Him every day for our daily bread.”
When we try to avoid going to God too often, we are like people in a little town in Africa that borders Kenya and Uganda. Since those two countries don’t get along, getting stranded in that area means getting caught in lawlessness, Rob said. God calls us to a life of joy, but too often we’re stuck in a border area. God’s work is much bigger than salvation; it includes sanctification.
“When we feel spiritually empty, it’s not because the well has dried up,” Rob said. “It’s because we’re trying to fill our own cistern. Christianity is different. It’s a discipline. . . . When I feel it’s spiritually empty, it’s because I’ve walked away from the discipline.”