Worship and Water Butts

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Suppose your day is turning out to be a bit rubbish. I hope it isn’t, but let’s imagine it is. On this imaginary bad day, when you are longing for something better - where is it that your daydreams take you? What is the future that you hope for? Are you looking forward to the dream job or being accepted onto the right course at Uni? Will everything be alright when you meet your perfect boyfriend or girlfriend? Or is it hitting that certain number of likes, follows or YouTube subscribers?  

Whatever the daydream is for you, it can, all too easily and often without you even noticing, become the most important thing in your world. The bible has a name for this – an idol.  

The prophet Jeremiah brought a message from God to a people (like us) who had many idols. But, like us, they didn’t see the problem with them. In order to show them what idols are really like God painted a picture using imagery they would understand,  

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” (Jer 2:13)  

Lets talk about cisterns for a minute. In ancient Palestine, a cistern was nothing to do with flushing toilets but was a large hole, dug by hand and lined with stones in order to store precious water. Basically a giant underground water butt – a lifeline to anyone farming in such a dry country. 

Imagine…..You dig away for weeks, blistering your hands and blunting your tools. You make the perfect cistern and come to it expecting to find a hole full of precious water only to find the last remnants of a puddle soaking through a crack in the rock. No amount of rain will fill it. Its cracked. All your hard work…..what a waste!  

God is saying your idols, anything you worship instead of God, are like broken cisterns – pointless. Worshipping anything else other than God will take all our effort and leave us feeling empty and unsatisfied.  

A relationship will not perfect your life.  

All the friends in the world cannot save you.  

Qualifications cannot define you.  

Rather than a hole in the ground that is never filled, Christians are given the life Jesus has won for us. God is not asking what we have done (or dug!), but offering us what He has done  

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28) 

After reading this (thanks Adam!) Festive’s ideas of ways to respond: 

What are you daydreaming about currently? Write it down. 

What are the ‘important things’ happening in your life at the moment, take a moment to thank God in prayer for all that you are enjoying! 

Reread the two bible bits in this blog spend a moment praying to God about all those areas where you feel burdened or empty. 

Put on your favourite ‘Jesus song’ and spend some time praising God for all He has done and all He is. 

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Adam White

Adam is married to Becky and they have two kids. He works as a maths teacher, and he enjoys spoiling students' day with algebra