Have you ever lived through a drought? The situation can be quite dire for farmers who rely on the earth to produce an income. As an Iowa girl for many years, I witnessed firsthand how farmers waited with guarded anticipation each season, especially the dry ones. I’m sure there were lots of prayers for rain being prayed.
Judah’s drought sounds to be extremely severe. Running out of water is a concern even now for some areas of the world. Rivers are at all time lows, fires are burning out of control, and people find themselves rationing water. Living in an arid climate here in Mexico, we’re extra careful with our own water consumption and love rainy season (the season we are in as I write this). It’s literally pouring outside as I reflect about dry and parched lands! (I think that’s a “God wink” for me today!)
Judah’s drought was clearly a punishment. God was holding back the rain on purpose. What did you think about Judah’s expectations and demands of the LORD? Did those people actually believe they could totally abandon God and then expect him to rush in and rescue them a moment’s notice? I suppose that’s what self-absorbed people do. They take advantage of others, as well as authority figures, when it suits them as if they are totally deserving.
In the case of our reading today, these people were now desperate and needed water. Did they really believe that God’s reputation would be harmed if he didn’t rescue them? The people were saying, “We are known as your people. Please don’t abandon us now!” If they were known as the LORD’s people, they sure didn’t act like it. Their actions spoke so much louder than their flimsy words and excuses. If God’s reputation could ever be compromised, Judah’s own disobedience would be the culprit.
God was clear. He had had enough. Things were going to look a lot different real soon. God gave Jeremiah this message to proclaim. “You love to wander far from me and do not restrain yourselves. Therefore, I will no longer accept you as my people. Now I will remember all your wickedness and will punish you for your sins.”
Talking about wells and water, I can’t help but remember the story of the Samaritan woman at the well who encountered Jesus. That was Jacob’s well in John 4, and Jesus began to compare well water to the living water he provides. “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
No matter what is happening in the world around us, chances are good at some time we’ll feel parched and dry on our own faith journey. We need Jesus. We should be like the woman at the well. “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”
We do still need well water, but the living water Jesus provides will give us eternal life. That is certainly the water I want to have access to. Jesus’ provision is for all who believe and follow him.
Plenty will still turn away, like Jeremiah’s first audience. Countless still live their lives feeling like something is missing. In simple terms, what’s missing is the living water, the relationship with Jesus, the promise of life eternal. Can you imagine not having those things in your life? No wonder people feel incomplete, always striving for the next gadget or feel-good solution.
The people of Judah seemed to be living like they were missing something. Yet they had an air of “privilege” about them. I sense they truly believed they could do no wrong, and God would provide for them anyway. That was a huge mistake, they’ll soon realize.
I would never want to test God’s patience with behavior so dishonoring. God wants our love, our worship. He wants a relationship with us that can be nurtured with blessings and time spent together. How can we keep this great honor to ourselves?
Are you feeling parched and dry in your faith, or are you ready to reach out to other thirsty souls around you? Do you have a plan?
Let’s pray … Lord, you are so good, and with you by my side I no longer feel parched and dry. My faith is alive, and it is an honor to be your child. Give me the courage to speak boldly about your love and faithfulness. May I grow closer to you. Open my ears to hear you clearly. In Jesus’ name. Amen.