Living Water and Leaky Containers

“My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.” – Jeremiah 2:13

When you live in the desert you know the difference between green and brown, between wet and dry. In the parched lands from which we get our Bible, water was not only a precious resource, but also an important metaphor for life itself.

In our passage for today the prophet Jeremiah speaks God’s judgment against the nation for seeking life where there is no life. He employs the metaphor of water, saying the people had turned away from God, the source of living water, and had built for themselves leaky cisterns, to try to catch whatever limited rain might fall. But however much rain came, the cisterns had cracks in them and could hold no water.

It is a vivid image. God has offered them a life with God’s own life-giving resources, instead they have attempted to fashion a life for themselves apart from God.

If we imagine this season of Lent as a wilderness time, where is the dryness in our own lives? Where are the parched places that long for living water? And where have we foolishly looked to our own resources for life and turned away from God, the source of life, the fountain of living water?


We are a dry people, O God, living in a dry land. Turn us back to you, the fountain of living water, that we may drink deeply and live fully. Amen.

ddRickFloyd2013.jpgAbout the Author
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A writer and author, his most recent publications are Romans, Parts 1 and 2 (with Michael S. Bennett), new titles in the “Listen Up!” Bible Study Series. He blogs at