Saturday, August 12, 2017

Cisterns of Living Water

Photo by Hoda dara 2013

I had a dream in which I attended a business meeting held in a shopping mall. I was unaware of the true nature of the meeting until I arrived, for I had been told only that it was to discuss an income-producing opportunity. I was surprised that those presenting at the meeting were women who appeared to hail from the 1970s, dressed in psychedelic floral or paisley print miniskirts or bell bottom pants, with bouffant hairdos.

The “opportunity” turned out to be door-to-door sales of waterbeds, to be purchased from these women acting as distributors. I knew this was nothing I wanted to get involved in, as the waterbed craze was over three decades ago, and I had heard bad things about them. Unless heated, they tended to be uncomfortably cool; they were bouncy and unstable; they were so heavy that they could put undue stress on the floor if placed in an upstairs room; and they might even leak.

Then I remembered that my husband had told me of a time when he went to clean out a vacated rental apartment, only to find that the former tenant had simply emptied his waterbed onto the floor, causing flooding, rot, mold, and water damage! Even worse, the sample that these women were showing us was made of thin plastic that already had small holes in it even though it had not yet held water!

So I politely declined the offer, and as the meeting was breaking up, a little girl I didn’t know came running up to me and threw her arms around me.

“Jesus loves you and so do I!” I told her.

“Then sing it with me,” she pleaded. I looked around timidly, somewhat reluctant to break into a hymn in a crowded shopping mall, but I couldn’t resist her fervent enthusiasm, and we began singing “Jesus Loves Me.”

As I awoke and pondered the meaning of the dream, Jeremiah 2:13 came to mind:
For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

In the dream, the world was offering an opportunity of no value, namely an outdated, defective product sold at an inflated price by out-of-touch people who only wanted to line their own pocketbooks, and not benefit the sales people reporting to them or their customers. Even if able to hold water, the result would be a cold (Matthew 24:12; 2 Corinthians 11:27), unstable (James 1:8), heavy and potentially dangerous burden (Psalm 38:4; Isaiah 46:1; 58:6; Matthew 23:4).

Yet a little child was showing the way to the only opportunity of true value – to be saved by trusting in Jesus Christ, Who loved us so much that He died for us on the cross to pay our sin debt, and Who rose again to prove He is God and that through Him, all can have eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 3:16).

The book of Jeremiah begins with God’s great purpose for Jeremiah, whom God knew long before his conception and had preordained that he would be a prophet. When Jeremiah heard this from God Himself, he protested because he was only a child. But God touched his mouth, signifying that He would give him the words to speak, and promised him that He would accompany Jeremiah on his missions and deliver him from his enemies (Jeremiah 1:4-10,19).

Youth in itself is no excuse for not following God’s plan for our lives. In fact, Jesus loved children and said that the kingdom of heaven was theirs, and that even adults need childlike faith if they are to be born again (Matthew 18:3-4; 19:14; John 3:3-8). The prophet Isaiah foretells of little children fearlessly leading once wild beasts, now tame in the Millennial Kingdom where Jesus Christ shall reign (Isaiah 11:6-9)

Scripture says that children are the most genuine and perfect in their praise (Matthew 21:16). Samuel was another child whom God used as a prophet to bring His Word and foretell His judgment to a corrupt people (1 Samuel 3). The apostle Paul warned his protégé Timothy to continue preaching God’s Word, even though others might tend to disregard him because of his youth (1 Timothy 4:12).

In my dream, the child therefore symbolized the attitude of humility and trust we need to be saved by faith through His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), and to praise Him and witness unashamedly of His love. She encouraged me by running to me and hugging me; I proclaimed His love for her, and my love for her which flowed from His love; and she encouraged me to join her in praise and worship!

When I was first saved I brimmed over with joy, zeal and excitement to tell others of the change He made in me (2 Corinthians 5:17. Galatians 6:15). Perhaps this child in my dream is a reminder not to leave that first love (Revelation 2:4), and to share it with others and to rejoice in Him always!

The Lord God raised up Jeremiah to warn His people of their wickedness, sin and particularly idolatry (Jeremiah 2), which violates the First Commandment putting God first (Exodus 20:3-5). He accused them of two evils: first forsaking God, Who is the Fountain of Living Water (Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13). Second, they turned to idols, which are like leaking water storage devices, or the defective waterbed in my dream.

Not only are these broken cisterns of no good, but their false promise of quenching thirst turns people away from the Living Water (Song of Solomon 4:15; Revelation 7:17), Who is the only source of eternal life. How often do the vain, empty promises of success, fame or fortune in the world lure people away (John 17:15-16; 1 Corinthians 5:10; Colossians 2:8; James 4:4) from true satisfaction and fulfilment (Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 4:4), which is found only in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

But through His amazing grace, once saved we can ourselves become cisterns of living water! (John 4:10-11; 7:38). His Holy Spirit enters us at the moment of our salvation (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30), so that we can be a channel through whom blessings flow! Like the little child who knows that Jesus loves her, we can by praise flowing from the Holy Spirit, through our hearts and from our lips, bless all who hear us with the living water of His Word!

© 2017 Laurie Collett


Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
Yes, I remember the water mattresses which became something of a craze in the 1970's. Back then I would have like to have tried one out in my own bedroom. That is until a very popular British TV comedy show "Steptoe & Son" which on one episode featured a newly purchased water bed that was installed in the son's bedroom. You probably guessed it: the elderly father accidentally stabbed the skin of the mattress - with dire consequences! It was enough to put me off such "trendy" furniture. Fortunately, it didn't take long for the water bed to go out of fashion.
But more seriously, water left in a reservoir will eventually stagnate, and if the cistern is outside, the surface of the water will eventually become bug-ridden and therefore left unfit to drink.
Maybe that could be the meaning of "living" water. That is running, like in a fast-flowing stream or creek. Even in public swimming pools, the water is not allowed to stagnate, but remains in constant motion as it passes through filter and chlorination tanks.
Praise God that he now offers living water for free to anyone who by faith approaches the Fountain of Life.
An excellent post, God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Good thing the waterbed fad died out! I appreciate your comments about stagnant water, like the Dead Sea which cannot support life because it has no outlet and therefore no flow. As Christians I believe we need to be filled daily with the Spirit through His Word and prayer, so that His Living Water can flow from us, as a reservoir, to others. There are some Christians who come faithfully to church and appear to enjoy soaking up the Word, but never share it with others, and hence become stagnant. On the other hand, some Christians in leadership can become so busy with service that they never take time to refill from the fountain, and they dry up. May we be a channel through whom blessings flow!
Thanks as always for sharing your experience and insight.
God bless,

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post, Laurie.

How often Satan fools people into thinking some long discredited religion has the answers for today's problems and people fall for it, completely ignoring the Salvation Christ offers. Like the waterbed, people soon figured out it wasn't nearly as good as it had been promoted to be, and it will not be better this time.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald, for your encouragement! So many empty promises in the world, yet people continue seeking among these and ignore Jesus Christ, Who is the only Way, Truth, and Life.
God bless,