“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” –Jeremiah 2:13
Here in the start of Jeremiah, God is calling out His people for turning to their broken wells, but we read that doing so was only one of two sins they had committed. The other was that they had turned from Him, the only fountain of living water.
So it seems that turning from the broken wells that we have made for ourselves is only part of the answer. As going to them was only part of our sin. We must once again return to Him who is the fountain. For it is only here that we can be truly satisfied. It is only once we return to that fountain that we shall be able to drink our fill and be truly satisfied.
But in doing so we must confess that somewhere down there line there was a shift in our hearts. For each of us who has made a broken well there was first a belief that God could, or would, no longer satisfy us. We get to the place where we don’t believe that what God has to offer us is good because we have stopped believing that God is good.
In looking for living water we could also look to the story of the woman at the well in John 4 where Jesus met a woman wanting something to drink and instead Jesus gives her Himself. Not a theological premise of who He is as the Messiah. He gives her His love and acceptance. But I’m getting ahead of myself, as we shall venture there a little further on.
And it’s here that I begin to see another broken well that I had been drinking from. The one I descried as a spring, the one that I went to and upon finding dry turned to all the others.
I have come to believe that everyone is a nerd in once since or another. And in a lot of ways I am a theological nerd.
And because of that I can get pretty heady when it comes to my understanding of God. Which I don’t think is a bad thing in itself, but it can easily become a substitute for knowing God. And often when that happens people turn into jerks. At least that happened to me. It’s why people often jokingly use the term ‘cage stage’ for someone who has newly become a Calvinist.
Through my pursuit of a theological knowledge I had, without knowing it, placed God in a folder marked Theology. And each time I ran to it I opened up the pages of information and found nothing to satisfy. What I was doing could be compared to a wife reciting facts about her husband after a fight when all he asked was that she come to bed.
But through my broken-heartedness I saw the broken heart of my Abba. Through Jeremiah He was calling out that He was all that was needed to live. He was offering me that which would truly satisfy as He watched me chasing after my broken wells. And yet the people that He had called His own, and the people that called Him their own, turned to other, easier, things. And I had followed their example of brokenness.
It was in this season on dryness and brokenness that I first arrived at the place where I understood the difference between wanting to pray and needing to pray. It was here in this season of being broken and dry that I came to understand that though I knew quite a bit about God I did not know Him as nearly much as I once believed I had.
There had been times where I prayed until I was hoarse. Times when I had given it my all. I served my King, Jesus. I knew that God was my Father. But there was something missing. I theologically understood the doctrine of adoption but I went through life as if I was anything but His true son. And it was this season of brokenness that showed me that.
My father is one of the best, if not the best, man that I know. And I know all of his faults saying this. But there is something that you need to know. When I talk to other people…when I write now about him, I will call him either ‘my dad’ or ‘my father’. But that’s not what I call him. Honestly if I ever called him either of those things he would likely ask me what was wrong. When I call him, I call him pops. It’s a name that has come to be intimate. I could yell it across a crowded room and he would respond. He would know it was me, because it’s a name that was born of intimacy. The same way that I still call my mother ‘momma’ and will do till we’re both gone to Canaan’s shore.
Before this season of brokenness, this season of dry desperation, I was ok with calling God by a name less intimate. And honestly, I was annoyed when people didn’t do the same. I had mistaken their intimacy for irreverence.
When Jesus taught us, His little brothers and sisters, to pray He told us to call His Father by an intimate name. Abba. Right now as you read this I would invite you to join me in a borrowed prayer from a broken hero.
“Abba, I belong to You.”
That’s the spring of water I was looking for. And whether you know it or not, it’s the spring which you have been searching for as well. Because, I believe, our adoption by the Father is the hinge-point of our entire faith. For it is when we are able to see God the Father as someone who loves us that we are able to see the water He gives as something we need, and something that we want. As long as we view the Father as distant, angry with us, wanting us to be better before we can be loved, or standing ready to punish us each time we don’t make a perfect score we shall never be able to run to Him to be satisfied. Until we understand that we can call Him Abba we shall never give up our broken well in exchange for living water.
It’s not an easy thing to do. But then again, Jesus never said it would be. In fact He promises trouble. But Jesus, through every temptation to go to a broken well, knew who He was. And who He was, and still is, is rooted in who Abba is and who He is in relation to Abba.
It’s easy to come to a place where we have a proper theological view of God in almost every way, but miss His love for us. We point to the cross. And that truly is one of, if not the foremost, points of contact between God’s love and our brokenness. But it is not the only one. For the cross is lost of it’s beauty when we forget what was purchased there.
This post is an excerpt from my upcoming book LUX. If you would like to purchase a copy you may by visiting http://kck.st/2TmXLXK