This site uses cookies to provide you with more responsive and personalized service and to collect certain information about your use of the site.  You can change your cookie settings through your browser.  If you continue without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.  See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Broken Cisterns Broken Cisterns

Broken Cisterns


George always kept a barrel near the garage. Rainwater would fill the barrel, which he used for his tomato plants. His system was really a kind of cistern, a container used to catch and store rainwater. While cisterns can be good, especially in areas with limited water resources, a natural spring is better. A cistern depends on having enough rain. Stored water can grow stagnant. A spring provides a continual source of water that is always fresh.

In today’s text, the Lord accuses Israel of committing two great sins. First, they have forsaken Him by offering their allegiance to false gods. They abandoned the “spring of living water” (v. 13). Second, God’s people exchanged the living God for idols they made for themselves (v. 11). They offered their worship to the works of their own hands. This was even worse than trading the fresh water of the spring for the stagnant water of a cistern, for these self-made cisterns were broken and could hold no water. The people would find no refreshment coming from the idols they venerated, because those gods did not exist.

Israel abandoned God by placing her trust in military and political alliances with pagan nations like Egypt and Assyria. These alliances proved false. By turning from God to rely on the earthly power, Israel essentially sold herself into slavery and suffered a punishment that was of her own making (vv. 17, 19).

Despite this, the Lord appealed to Israel to return to Him “Now why go to Egypt to drink water from the Nile? And why go to Assyria to drink water from the Euphrates?” (v. 18; see Isa. 58:11). God was the source of living water, which He offers through Jesus, freely available to all who ask (see John 4:10; Rev. 7:17).

Pray with Us

For the next two days, we’ll focus our prayers on Moody’s Academic Records department and their service as registrars and academic advisors. Today, please pray for George Mosher, Tyrome Turner, Laura Barbieri, and Julianne Van Peursem.

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

Find Daily Devotionals by Month