Idolatry takes many forms. It could be a sacred object, a car, sport or even family and when someone is challenged about their idols their reaction shows the depths of their idolatry.
One of the greatest tragedies in Israel’s history is that they abandoned their God and chased after other gods instead. Sadly, this wasn’t a once-off and momentary lapse. It happened repeatedly.
The language that Jeremiah uses to describe this sin is devastating. God says, ‘You have played the prostitute with many lovers’ (Jeremiah 3.1). God says to Israel, ‘For My people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.’ (Jeremiah 2.13)
In other words, the things that they traded for God – they could not bring fulfilment. The problem for us is we so often do the same thing. We should be enjoying the source of all fulfilment, but too often we find ourselves seeking fulfilment elsewhere. And we know all too well, from our own experience, that these things never feel us up – be it the pay rise, the new car, the dream husband or wife – pretty soon they’re just not enough.
In John 4 Jesus meets a Samaritan women at a well in the middle of the day. She’s a religious and social outcast, but Jesus reaches out to her and asks for a drink. The women is shocked and can’t fathom that he would do such a thing.
But Jesus says to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water”. (John 4.10) Jesus identifies himself with the God of Jeremiah who is living water and can end our spiritual thirst.
Jesus wants us to find our satisfaction in him and not in the broken dried up cisterns of this world. Career, relationships, material things – all good, but they can never quench our deepest thirst. Instead we need to come to Jesus and understand that the spring of living water himself went thirsty so that we would never have to thirst again.
Author: Joshua Johnston