“Here today, gone tomorrow” is an adage we’ve often heard. It summarizes a sober truth: things that we enjoy may suddenly disappear. We’ve seen it applied to money, relationships and physical health. We should enjoy what we have while we have it.
No one thought to apply the adage to a lake. But last month, a lake in southern Chile suddenly disappeared. It wasn’t a large lake; it’s surface area was about 10-12 acres, the size of 10 soccer fields. And it wasn’t a vital lake. Situated in the colder regions of Chile, it was fed by melting glaciers. As you might expect of such a terrain, people don’t live nearby.
So what happened to the lake that disappeared? The leading explanation is that a crack developed in one of the ice walls of the lake and the water drained out. Many attribute it to global warming. But as temperatures drop, the crack has sealed and the lake appears to be filling again.
The prophet Jeremiah likely didn’t know anything about Chile or glaciers, but he knew something about disappearing water supplies. A lesson he taught using such imagery is vital even today.
Jeremiah’s nation, Judah, was drifting further and further from God. God was the reason they existed as a nation. Centuries before, he had led their ancestors out of Egypt and brought them to the land they now inhabited. But despite all his kindness, the people turned to worthless idols. Jeremiah’s task was to call them to return to God. But how do you communicate that message?
In Jeremiah 2:13, the prophet employed an image. He set a choice before the people: Which source of water would you rather choose? Option number one is a cistern, a hole dug in the ground to catch rainwater. The water, of course, won’t be fresh. And there’s one other problem: The cracks in the cistern will allow the water to seep out. Not much of a choice, huh?
The second option is a fountain that perpetually flows. The water gushing from the earth is fresh, and there will be water available any time you need it.
A no-brainer, right? But most people pick foolishly when it comes to the most important water of life, the water needed to sustain their souls. These are the words Jeremiah spoke on behalf of God:
“For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns — broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13, NKJV).
Those who were wise would see the folly of living without God.
Many today (perhaps some who will read these words) continue to choose broken cisterns instead of the ever-flowing fountain. If that describes you, don’t be surprised when you go to draw water from your trusted source — and the lake has disappeared.
Choose the fountain! “Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
A strange event in Chile illustrates a vital truth.