“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” — Jeremiah 2:13
In the chaos leading up to the French Revolution (1789-99), many churches in France were converted into “Temples of Reason.” People lifted up the “goddess of reason” to celebrate the new Age of Reason in place of the fading Age of Faith. Not long afterward the Age of Romanticism came along to replace the tyranny of reason by lifting up passions and feelings.
Like a pendulum swinging back and forth, each age has its own ideology. Sometimes there is a good reason for the change. But usually only one side of truth is exalted. And when that becomes idolized, it prompts a reaction. There is a place for reason, a place for emotions, a place for art, a place for science, and much more. But when people highlight ideals over the sovereignty of God, they become idols (false gods) and are eventually found to be inadequate. Idols are ultimately unsatisfying.
That is what happened in the days of Jeremiah. “My people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols,” said the Lord. “They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Like idols, broken cisterns leave us thirsty and longing for living water, a gushing spring that never runs dry. Regardless of what people may say from age to age in history, Jesus is always the living water who fills us with the gift of eternal life (John 4:14).