August 8 (Daily reading: Jeremiah 4-6, NIV) God’s plan in calling Jeremiah revealed His purpose: “I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5). Israel had already been conquered by Assyria; now Jeremiah prophesied the fall of Judah at the hands of Babylon. Their sin was revealed: “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city … ‘The people of Israel and the people of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me,’ declares the LORD” (5:1, 11). They had stood at the crossroads, where they were invited to walk in the way of God, and they said, “We will not walk in it.” Or, “Listen to the sound of the trumpet!” But they said, “We will not listen” (6:16-17). God’s plea to them was to “break up your unplowed ground” (4:3). They needed to prepare their hard hearts for repentance.
We look back to see the root of their sin. “Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols.” God revealed their unbelievable behavior: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jer. 2:11, 13). A thirsty people in a dry land, they turned away from the fountain of living waters, and looked for water from broken cisterns where there was none! For us, Jesus is the source of this fountain: “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (Jn. 4:14).
– Al Gary