Why Are You Like This?
Lord God, You are not only good, but You are great. I praise You for the slow, steady wonder of Your creation and Your providence.
Consider: "Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst ... [It] will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:14). If we are not careful, we can become like Israel, drifting to "false waters" (13,18,19) to satisfy our thirst for meaning.
Look at how many questions God asks his people--and the people's non-questions. Almost half the verses! Can you sense God's anguish at the people's forgetting both his generosity and their own early response of devotion and love (2,6-8,11,13,21,32)? Jeremiah had been told to "uproot and tear down" (Jer. 1:10). Surface renovation was impossible with every area of society distorted and perverted. All forms of leadership (8, 26) and all generations (9) are implicated.
When people turn from the living God (13,20) they turn both to other gods and to other people for prosperity and security. The picture of marriage (2,32) changes to sex-craved following of "foreign gods" (20-25) and flagrant pursuing of foreign alliances (31-33). From a context of ministry in New York, Tim Keller explores ways in which today "money, sex and power...are vying to be counterfeit gods." Alongside is intense reliance on structures that individuals, communities and nations make for themselves (27,28), whether in areas of economics, security or defense--or in daily relationships.
The image of water likewise embraces the totality of relationships. Delineation of water sources relevant to the hearers vividly contrasts Jerusalem's Gihon ("gushing") spring and the running ("living") water that flows from it, with cisterns dug in rock for storing water from elsewhere and the rivers of Egypt and Assyria (13-19). Verse 13 is taken up in Christ's words (John 7:37-39). Today, millions have inadequate clean water while others quarrel over water resources, a situation paralleling people's access and response to knowledge of Christ, "the spring of living water" (13). Jeremiah's holistic analysis forces us to face the disastrous results of continuing misuse and misdistribution of God-given resources that result from turning from God.
In what ways do you see God's appeal to his people in Jeremiah's day, with its imagery, speaking to the Christian church today? Talk this over with others.
Loving Father, I know at times I disappoint You. Help me to refocus today and make it a new resolve to please You at all times.