Two evils - First, they forsook God, the Fountain of life, light, prosperity, and happiness. Secondly, they hewed out broken cisterns; they joined themselves to idols, from whom they could receive neither temporal nor spiritual good! Their conduct was the excess of folly and blindness. What we call here broken cisterns, means more properly such vessels as were ill made, not staunch, ill put together, so that the water leaked through them.
The pagan are guilty of but one sin - idolatry; the covenant-people commit two - they abandon the true God; they serve idols.
Fountain - Not a spring or natural fountain, but a tank or reservoir dug in the ground (see Jeremiah 6:7), and chiefly intended for storing living waters, i. e., those of springs and rivulets. The cistern was used for storing up rain-water only, and therefore the quantity it contained was limited.
The Lord himself has signified that schools should be established among us in order that true knowledge may be obtained. No teacher in our schools should suggest the idea that, in order to have the right discipline, it is essential to study textbooks expressing pagan and infidel sentiments. Students who are thus educated, are not competent to become educators in their turn; for they are filled with the subtle sophistries of the enemy. The study of works that in any way express infidel sentiments is like handling black coals; for a man cannot be undefiled in mind who thinks along the line of skepticism. In going to such sources for knowledge, are we not turning away from the snow of Lebanon to drink from the turbid water of the valley? FE 168.1
Men who turn away from the knowledge of God, have placed their minds under control of their master, Satan, and he trains them to be his servants. The less the productions expressing infidel views are brought before the youth, the better. Evil angels are ever on the alert that they may exalt before the minds of the youth that which will do them injury, and as books expressing infidel and pagan sentiments are read, these unseen agents of evil seek to impress those who study them with the spirit of questioning and unbelief. Those who drink from these polluted channels do not thirst for the waters of life; for they are satisfied with the broken cisterns of the world. They think they have the treasures of knowledge, when they are hoarding that which is but wood and hay and stubble, not worth gaining, not worth keeping. Their self-esteem, their idea that a superficial knowledge of things constitutes education, make them boastful and self-satisfied, when they are, as were the Pharisees, ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God. FE 168.2
O that our youth would treasure up the knowledge that is imperishable, that they can carry with them into the future, immortal life, the knowledge that is represented as gold and silver and precious stones! The class of educators and learners who deem themselves wise, know nothing as they ought to know it. They need to learn meekness and lowliness in the school of Christ, that they may esteem highly that which Heaven regards as excellent. Those who receive a valuable education, one that will be as enduring as eternity, will not be regarded as the world's best educated men. But the Scriptures declare that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This kind of knowledge is below par in the estimation of the world, and yet it is essential for every youth to become wise in the Scriptures, if he would have eternal life. The apostle says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” This is broad enough. Let all seek to comprehend, to the full extent of their powers, the meaning of the word of God. A mere superficial reading of the inspired word will be of little advantage; for every statement made in the sacred pages requires thoughtful contemplation. It is true that some passages do not require as earnest concentration as do others; for their meaning is more evident. But the student of the word of God should seek to understand the bearing of one passage upon another until the chain of truth is revealed to his vision. As veins of precious ore are hidden beneath the surface of the earth, so spiritual riches are concealed in the passage of Holy Writ, and it requires mental effort and prayerful attention to discover the hidden meaning of the word of God. Let every student who values the heavenly treasure put to the stretch his mental and spiritual powers, and sink the shaft deep into the mine of truth, that he may obtain the celestial gold,—that wisdom which will make him wise unto salvation. FE 169.1Read in context »
The priest had that morning performed the ceremony which commemorated the smiting of the rock in the wilderness. That rock was a symbol of Him who by His death would cause living streams of salvation to flow to all who are athirst. Christ's words were the water of life. There in the presence of the assembled multitude He set Himself apart to be smitten, that the water of life might flow to the world. In smiting Christ, Satan thought to destroy the Prince of life; but from the smitten rock there flowed living water. As Jesus thus spoke to the people, their hearts thrilled with a strange awe, and many were ready to exclaim, with the woman of Samaria, “Give me this water, that I thirst not.” John 4:15. DA 454.1
Jesus knew the wants of the soul. Pomp, riches, and honor cannot satisfy the heart. “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me.” The rich, the poor, the high, the low, are alike welcome. He promises to relieve the burdened mind, to comfort the sorrowing, and to give hope to the despondent. Many of those who heard Jesus were mourners over disappointed hopes, many were nourishing a secret grief, many were seeking to satisfy their restless longing with the things of the world and the praise of men; but when all was gained, they found that they had toiled only to reach a broken cistern, from which they could not quench their thirst. Amid the glitter of the joyous scene they stood, dissatisfied and sad. That sudden cry, “If any man thirst,” startled them from their sorrowful meditation, and as they listened to the words that followed, their minds kindled with a new hope. The Holy Spirit presented the symbol before them until they saw in it the offer of the priceless gift of salvation. DA 454.2
The cry of Christ to the thirsty soul is still going forth, and it appeals to us with even greater power than to those who heard it in the temple on that last day of the feast. The fountain is open for all. The weary and exhausted ones are offered the refreshing draught of eternal life. Jesus is still crying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.” “Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” Revelation 22:17; John 4:14. DA 454.3Read in context »
When you turn away from the broken cisterns that can hold no water, and in the name of Jesus your Advocate come directly to God, asking for the things you need, the righteousness of Christ will be revealed as your righteousness, the virtue of Christ as your virtue. You will then understand that justification will come alone through faith in Christ; for in Jesus is revealed the perfection of the character of God; in His life is manifested the outworking of the principles of holiness. Through the atoning blood of Christ the sinner is set free from bondage and condemnation; through the perfection of the sinless Substitute and Surety, he may run in the race of humble obedience to all God's commandments. Without Christ he is under the condemnation of the law, always a sinner, but through faith in Christ he is made just before God. 1SM 330.1
Christ, Our Divine Sin BearerRead in context »