God said in Jeremiah 2:13, “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.” Israel turned her back on God. They replaced him with idols. They turned their back on relationship and replaced it with material things. God compares their actions to someone abandoning a spring of running water for a broken cistern. The most reliable and refreshing sources of water in Israel were her natural springs. This water was dependable; and its clear, cool consistency was satisfying. In contrast, the most unreliable source of water was cisterns. Cisterns were large pits dug into the rock and covered with plaster. These pits were used to gather rainwater. This water was brackish; and if the rains were below normal, it could run out. Worse yet, if a cistern developed a crack it would not hold the water. To turn from a dependable, pure stream of running water to a broken, brackish cistern was idiotic – because the broken cistern would always leave the person wanting a satisfying drink empty.
We run after stuff because we believe the lie that if we just accumulate a little more stuff, then we’ll be happy. But the truth is, the more we have the more we want. Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.” Simply put: The more you have, the more you want! You see…stuff doesn’t quench our thirst for more, it intensifies it! Trying to find satisfaction from stuff is like trying to quench your thirst with sea water. The more you drink, the more thirsty you become!
Stuff always leaves you empty.
- We pursue stuff to the detriment of our relationship with God, even though he’s the only one who can truly satisfy. So we’re left empty.
- We pursue stuff to the detriment of our relationship with our family. Without healthy family relationships, we feel empty.
- We pursue stuff to the point we have no time for friends. As a result we’re left feeling empty.
- We pursue stuff and we accumulate it. But to keep it we have to keep working crazy hours so we never have time to enjoy the stuff we accumulate. That leaves us feeling empty!
Stuff isn’t bad in and of itself – it just becomes bad when we look to it for something it can’t provide. God says we’ll find fulfillment in a relationship with Him and in meaningful relationships with others – and that stuff is no substitute for relationships.