YOU NEED TO SPRING A LEAK by Ginger Booker, CLM
God is on our side—until we’re not. Wait, does that make sense? God is on our side, but sometimes we wander away. Prophets call the people of God back to him. People wander off. People think all that they have received is because of their own efforts rather than a gift from God. People have forgotten to be grateful. All their gratitude has leaked out.
The prophet Jeremiah reminds God's people in Jeremiah 2:9-13 (CEV)
9 I will take you to court and accuse you and your descendants
10 of a crime that no nation has ever committed before.
Just ask anyone, anywhere, from the eastern deserts to the islands in the west.
11 You will find that no nation has ever abandoned its gods even though they were false.
I am the true and glorious God, but you have rejected me to worship idols.
12 Tell the heavens to tremble with fear!
13 You, my people, have sinned in two ways—you have rejected me, the source of life-giving water, and you've tried to collect water in cracked and leaking pits dug in the ground.
We leak. We can’t hold the grace of God, the water of life. We fill up on our pleasures, money, work, sports, shopping, but it leaks out. And if we don’t return to be filled again, we’re going to go dry. We’re going to be running on empty. We need to return to the source. No one, Jeremiah reminds us, thought to wonder where God is in the business of their lives.
We need to fill up on God’s presence and to ask where God is in the rest of our lives. And we are here to be reminded that God has always been present. We’re the ones who wandered off. We’re the ones who said that we could handle it on our own. So, now we’re back to ask again for God to be present, for God to make God’s self-known to us. And we need to do it again and again because we leak. We are cracked cisterns, letting the presence of God leak away from us day by day until we return to be reminded.
Cisterns: what are they? In biblical times, a cistern was an artificial reservoir that was dug into the earth or carved into rock for collecting and storing water. Israel has a long dry season with relatively few natural springs, so catching winter rain in cisterns was very important. Fresh water was extremely valuable, so a broken cistern was practically worthless. Cracked rock or crumbling masonry could hold only a small amount of dirty water - or maybe no water at all. Collecting and storing water in a broken cistern was about as practical as using a net for a canteen!
The prophet Jeremiah used the illustration of broken cisterns to point out the extreme foolishness of God’s people, Israel This was the word of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah.
Jeremiah preached in a day when the people of Judah, the southern portion of the nation of Israel, had turned away from God to do their own thing.
You probably know that I wasn’t raised in the church. In high school the only Jeremiah I knew was a bullfrog, he was a good friend of mine. I never understood a single word he said, but I helped him drink his wine. That was a tribute to the group Three Dog Night in their song, Joy to the World. You see, my parents had not valued their marriage, and had not raised me in the church. Witness this phenomenon for decades all over, and now you know why our church congregations are shrinking. People are no longer devoted to the Lord, or depending on Him to meet their spiritual needs. Jeremiah, not the bullfrog but the prophet, tells us that people had created “cisterns” of idolatry (of money, of work, of leisure) and immorality for themselves, hoping that the pleasure could satisfy their needs.
And guess what? The people of Judah found that these cisterns or their own making were broken. These cisterns didn’t break after holding water for a while. They never held any water! These ways of living, these cisterns were broken from the day they were built, and could never satisfy the people’s spiritual fulfillment apart from the Lord. Only God Himself can quench our spiritual thirst.
So are you a cistern, dry and empty? Have you tried filling yourself with things not of the Lord? Do you need to spring a leak of these things that never keep you satisfied?
Awaken your senses. You may be a broken cistern, holding stale water. The worldly things do not fill you up, but to be invigorated, you need the living water of Jesus, on a daily basis-perhaps reading the Bible, reading devotions, surrounding yourself in Christian music, and of course, praying. One of the early examples of living water in the Bible comes from Jeremiah 2:13 where we just heard God say, “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.”
Later in Jeremiah 17:13, Jeremiah says of God, “Lord, you are the hope of Israel; all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water.”
So awaken your senses. Imagine you are dry and parched. Your soul is in trouble. Your life is being drained away. This is a sense of physical, mental, and a gruesome anguish.
And the Lord, offers us clean flowing water. Water that mists and hydrates our skin. Water sounds that are the purest form of music to our ears, hearts and souls. Green, blue and white colors of the water to alert our eyes.
Can you imagine it? The living water is a symbol for salvation and a true knowledge of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God provides us with everything, everything, we need and is the “living water’ that continues to always give to us.
I envision of standing on those rocks under that waterfall, soaking up the Love of our Lord, feeling the peace in my soul, feeling the mist on my body, and knowing the protection of my Lord.
Can you feel it? Are you feeling the soaking presence of the Lord? That is an art, of envisioning art, of hearing the music of the water, of sensing and smelling the freshness, of imagining sticking your tongue out to taste a drop of the cool, fresh water. This is God’s artwork invoking your senses, through the Holy Spirit.
We can’t store wonderful feelings, or else we will try to place them in our cisterns. I want to talk about soaking worship. Unlike in Jeremiah where we heard of two aspects – rejecting God, the source of life-giving water, and collection of water in cracked and leaking pits dug in the ground, these are two better aspects.
First is worship which speaks of the giving of our adoration, honor and love to God,
Secondly, receiving and drinking from God.
So while in daily worship time with God we should be simultaneously focused on both giving and receiving. Sometimes I have heard that worship should be a one-way street giving all of our adoration to God. A time in which we expect nothing in return. And we all should have experienced a few of these times.However, the Bible reveals that God’s desire has always been for communion, relationship and encounter, from the garden with Adam and Eve to today.
When our hearts are open in worship and in an attitude of surrender, as I envision myself in the midst of the waterfall of God’s love, we are open to receiving the ministry of the Holy Spirit more than any other time.
This fosters a special time with God. We open our heart’s door and welcome Jesus inside to commune with us. In God’s midst or mist, we can open up the innermost places of our souls, where we have been hurt or damaged, and in that space, in that carved out cistern that we have created, the experience of God’s love can heal us.
So use all your senses, see the love of God surrounding us, enveloping us. Use all your senses.
You need all your senses to appreciate this experience.
· See with your eyes and heart the beauty as the waterfall.
· Hear the music the water plays to our ears and soul.
· Smell the fresh water, the loving water.
· Taste the fresh mist, the sweet water of His love.
· Touch the water, experience the love and joy that permeates your skin, your body, your soul.
And tell me that isn’t the wonderful ability of the Lord’s beauty and artwork!
Feel free to spring that leak of stale water within you, and enjoy the sensation of living water fall fresh around you, as Christ is: Christ with you, Christ before you, Christ behind you, Christ in you, Christ beneath you, Christ above you, Christ on your right, Christ on your left, Christ when you lie down, Christ when you arise, Christ in the heart of every man who things of you, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of you, Christ in every eye that sees you, and Christ in every ear that hears you.
So although it sounds rather strange, spring a leak, and let the life giving waters fall upon you, soak in the worship, in the name of Christ our risen Savior.