Tag Archives: Cistern

Spirit Spring and Personal Cistern

They have forsaken me,
    the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns
Jeremiah 2:13 (NIV)

Wendy and I came home from our cruise a week ago with a mixture of emotions. We’ve done some debriefing about it together this past week. As I admitted in my recap, our time aboard fell into a very simple (and some would say “boring”) routine. We read a lot. We watched movies in our room. We sat by the pool in the warm sun. We only went to one of the big stage shows they offer in the evenings. We only truly explored one of the four ports of call. The daily list of activities we could enjoy was mind-boggling, but we pretty much ignored it all. We didn’t want endless activity. We have that at home.

On one hand we truly enjoyed the rest, the warmth, and the break from routine. We enjoyed being together as we always do. It was quiet and peaceful. At the same time, we both came home feeling that our Spirit-tank was empty. Independent of one another, we had thoughts of some thing on which we wanted to ponder and dig into. We had plans for journaling, meditating, seeking, and conversation together. We thought the downtime would afford us the opportunity to dig deep from a spiritual perspective. In retrospect, we didn’t do that, nor did we really even talk about it before we left.

In today’s chapter, Jeremiah’s prophetic poetry is pointed at his own people. He offers a word picture that leapt off the page for me in the quiet this morning. They had access to God’s “spring of living water,” but chose to dig their own cisterns instead. Yeah. I get that. I kind of feel like that with our missed opportunity a few weeks ago.

That confessed, I’m not beating myself up about this. It is what it is. It was a restful week and an enjoyable getaway. Nevertheless, it has served as a reminder for me. The line between “surface” and “Spirit” is an important one. Drinking from the spring of Living Water is not the same as drinking from the well-dug cistern of personal satisfaction.

Chalk up another lesson for the journey. I’m going to do it differently the next time we getaway together for a time of rest.

Have a good week, my friends.

Chapter-a-Day Jeremiah 41

Ishmael’s reason for dumping the bodies into a cistern was to cover up the earlier murder of Gedaliah. Jeremiah 41:9a (MSG)

In my study group, we’ve been utilizing an exercise called Morning Pages. It’s really simple. First thing, when you get up in the morning, write three pages long hand. Just write whatever comes to your mind. Keep the pen on the paper and keep writing. Don’t think. Don’t filter. Don’t stop. Just write.

One of the men in my group commented that the first time he’d done this study, when he first used this exercise, he was shocked at what came out in his Morning Pages. I understood. In my own experience of doing Morning Pages over the years, I’ve experienced the same thing. We are often unaware of what we have stuffed in the cracks and corners of our soul.

Our souls are deep cisterns. Over time, like Ishmael, we throw a lot of nasty stuff in. Then we pile stuff on top to hide the stench and cover it up. Eventually, it gets piled so deep that the flow of living water gets stopped up. Maybe there’s something seeping to the surface, but there’s definitely not a steady flow from the source. Sometimes our well clogs completely. It dries up. Morning Pages is an exercise that purges the soul and helps return the flow.

Jesus said “repent and be baptized.” What a great word picture. Purge yourself of the rotting, dead stuff in your soul, then plunge yourself into living water so that your well is filled. It’s not a momentary event, but a life long process.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and crazyfarmer