Posted by: kathryngraves | December 1, 2015

Trading Fountains for Broken Cisterns

Like many of you, Thanksgiving weekend involved food I don’t normally eat. Don’t get me wrong–I enjoyed every delicious bite! But bread and sugar were the main ingredients. The single healthy item was baked turkey!

It seems like all my health and fitness gains of the last few months flew out the window in one weekend! Now that I’m back home, the GI distress has begun as my body tries to deal with the after-effects. The giant ice storm that blew across the middle of the country gave me a giant headache, allergy attack, and now possible sinus infection. I’m huddled in my jammies and nice warm house trying to recoup.

Where did I go wrong? How did I fall so far so fast? It all started with the 10-hour car ride. Sitting that long is flat-out unhealthy. Then cinnamon rolls became the high-dive into the deep end of sugar and bread. I didn’t come up for air until we pulled into our own driveway days later. I know I’m not alone. You jumped in right beside me.

Now the detox begins. How do we “dry out” after that kind of immersion? Some recommend juice fasts. I’m not opposed to that, but unless they are only vegetable juices, sugar will be the main ingredient. The best thing for me is to simply return to “normal” eating with absolutely no cheating for a couple of weeks. Eggs for breakfast. Rainbow salad for lunch with lots of olive oil and avocado. Bright colored veggies and chicken for supper. An apple with almond butter and cinnamon for a snack. A square of dark chocolate to go with my hot green tea in the evening. Real food with real nutrition and not a bit of deprivation. No hunger pangs. And no guilty conscience.

I’ll be fine in a few days. But I told you all this to set you up for what I really want to say. My daily Bible reading this morning came from 2 Kings 9, Jeremiah 2 and Luke 4. Reading through these chapters brought me face-to-face with another dive into polluted water.

Swimming in polluted water. The Israelites turned away from the fountain of living waters to build their own broken cisterns. In other words, they rejected the Lord and all His bounteous provisions for them and turned to idol worship. They left the One True God for fake imitations. After a while they became so accustomed to the stale water in their cisterns that they forgot what pure, life-giving water tasted like. The occasional wake-up-call resulted in repentance for a while. But the root cause never was addressed.

Jehu destroyed all Ahab’s family and Jezebel and rid the country of their Baal worship, but he left in place the golden calves at Bethel and Dan that Jeroboam, the son of Nebat set up. The root of sin remained.

Jeremiah told the people what they had done and what the result would be. God’s heart was broken over the sin of the people. All of it came down to one thing. Idolatry. Trading fountains of living waters for broken cisterns.

Jesus was familiar with the pull of sin. He was tempted to trade eternal glory for temporary gratification. But the power of the Holy Spirit enabled him to reject the imposter.

The people in Nazareth, Jesus’ home town, rejected Him and His power because of their own narrow views. They refused to open their hearts to Him, so he travelled to other towns where He performed great works. The residents of Nazareth missed out on the fountain of living waters so they could soak in their own broken cisterns.

And we Christians in America have traded spiritual blessings for temporal pleasures. We have become so sated by our material gains that we don’t think we have time for reading our Bibles or spending chunks of time praying. And we have taught others to do the same so that the blood of innocents is “on our skirts.”

Take that phrase however the Lord leads you, but He said to me, “The innocents sacrificed in your culture are the unborn aborted babies.”

Self-indulgence became the high-dive into polluted water of disregard for God’s word and now we swim in a pool of sin that we don’t even recognize as such. We close our eyes and move our arms and legs and hope things will get better. They won’t until we dry out. Detox. Then we’ll be healthy enough to help others who have been sickened by polluted water.

How do we detox in spiritual terms? Go back to what works, with absolutely no cheating. Read our Bibles every day, and not just a verse or two. Read whole chapters. Spend time doing it. Spiritual health is not easy and effortless any more than physical health is. Just like it’s easier to eat processed food that we don’t have to work to prepare, it’s easy to read a verse and a devotion to go with it and think we’ve been spiritually nourished. But in the same way processed food leads to disease and physical decay, this sort of easy-does-it approach to spiritual health leads to decay. After we read, we need to pray. To digest what we’ve read and talk to the Lord about it. Discuss with Him the points He wants us to “get.” Then we need to move around. Take what we’ve learned into our lives and the lives of others. This is what spiritual health looks like. This is what it’s like to drink from the fountain of living waters instead of our own broken cisterns.





  1. Awesome Kathy! I do enjoy reading your perspective on things.. I was missing those Sunday morning classes!

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