The source and spring of all true life, pleasure, holiness, and hope!
(George Everard, "The Stray One Recalled!" 1874)
"My people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken Me — the Fountain of living waters, and
hewed out cisterns — broken cisterns, that can hold no water."
God reminds us how foolish and unwise it is thus to forsake the sole source of true happiness.
It is a very forcible image that is here employed — God is a Fountain, a Well of Life.
He is the source and spring of all true life, pleasure, holiness, and hope!
In Him is a continual freshness of all that can fill the soul with joy.
In Him are inexhaustible streams of mercy, grace, and consolation.
But men forsake this Fountain for cisterns — yes, more, for broken cisterns, from which soon leak out the few drops of water they may contain.
A traveler in the Holy Land tells us that in one part he found the land riddled with the remains of these broken cisterns. When water was needed, they would just dig one of these little clay cisterns in the ground. It would hold water for a time, but soon, when the sun was hot and weather dry, it would crack and leak — and so another and another would be needed.
Ah, what pains and trouble men take in hewing out cisterns like these . . .
wealth unsanctified by true riches,
the acquisition of knowledge with no end beyond its possession,
a position and name that shall dazzle those around,
schemes of self-indulgence and pleasure,
a comfortable home where God is forgotten,
some object of affection which engrosses every thought —
how often something of this kind steals the heart from God!
But before long there is sure to be a crack, a leak — and the joy and the comfort is dried up and gone!
So God in His tender compassion would have us see this, and remember that nothing can ever take the place of Himself as our Well-spring of joy.