The world is full of desperate people thirsting for happiness. In their quest, they eagerly drink from contaminated sources of water, mistakenly believing it will satisfy their thirst. What they long for, and desperately need, can be found solely in the one and only “fountain of living waters”—God himself. God laments over the poor choices we make: “My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).
This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture because it offers a compelling picture of reality. Imagine people dying of thirst and frantically digging cisterns that cannot hold water. In their last desperate attempts to quench their thirst, driven mad by the scorching sun, they shovel sand into their mouths, choking and retching as death overtakes them. Imagine that all the while, just a stone’s throw away, there is a spring of cold, fresh water, pure and life-giving. This is the picture that God paints through the prophet Jeremiah. Every attempt to find life in anyone or anything but God is vain. It is not only wrong to seek refreshment of the heart—it is utterly self-destructive.
Are you thirsty for happiness—for meaning, peace, contentment? Jesus invites you to join millions throughout history and across the globe, and a multitude of those now living in the visible presence of the fountain of living waters, to come to Him and drink the best water in the universe—the only refreshment that will ever truly and eternally satisfy.
I find God to be pure, refreshing, and satisfying. My happiest days are those I drink most deeply of Him. I also know that if I don’t drink of Him, I will drink something else—something that will leave me thirsty, dissatisfied, and sick, for idols cannot satisfy. George Whitefield wrote, “I drank of God’s pleasure as out of a river. Oh that all were made partakers of this living water.”
My son-in-law Dan Stump, married to my youngest daughter Angela, recently preached a great sermon on this passage in Jeremiah 2. I was there when he preached it and went back to listen to it again because it really spoke to me. (I have two-sons-in-law on my short list of guys I love to hear preach!) Dan is a teacher at Ron Russell Middle School in Portland, Oregon. He and Angie are part of Gresham Bible Church, where Dan has served as an elder and Angela directs the women’s ministries.