Made for More
Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the streams in the Negev. NIV
In this passage, God’s people recognize their need for restoration. They’re fully aware they’re Made for More. So the picture of the dry Negev desert gives a very vivid illustration of what we become without God presence. The word “streams” in Arabic is wadi. In the Middle East, a wadi is a riverbed. You can see evidence that it once had water but remains dry most of the year.
We would never view the dusty desert as alive and flourishing. A desert is a place that longs for water. Likewise, we must acknowledge that our collective gatherings of humanity “our dust” longs for a life-giving river to flow through it. God’s people in this prayer view themselves as one of those dry riverbeds in the Negev. For that reason, their prayer is that God will restore them like the streams in the Negev.
Such an amazing picture. At certain seasons when there’s rainfall in the Negev, a dry riverbed transforms in just a few hours. The riverbed becomes an overflowing, torrential stream that sweeps everything before it. In one outpouring of rain, all the dust and broken earth are restored by life-giving waters.
But We’ve Become Less
The two evils of Jeremiah 2:13 are the abandonment of the fountain of living water and the building of broken cisterns. A cistern is an artificial water reservoir. What distinguishes a cistern from a well is its waterproof lining. A cistern without its lining cannot contain water. We build and sustain cisterns with our ingenuity. A cistern can be useful at first but easily becomes stagnated and polluted without fresh rain. A well, in contrast, needs no lining, natural streams supply it with fresh water. Our world doesn’t need more cisterns, it needs more supernatural streams flowing into it.
However, we’ve built cisterns for our lives, we’ve built cisterns for churches. But we’re called to be a river in a desert. We’re more than just vessels. We’re anointed to be channels of living water that both restores and heals, and it also destroys and washes away. It brings new life in abundance. What God brings can be gathered but it cannot be contained.
Yet with all our knowledge, resources and gifts, we’ve become less. We ‘ve become less prepared to pour out His presence, power, and love. We’ve become blinded by visions of enterprise that could never withstand the bounty of His harvest.
God can restore our riverbeds with just one outpouring. Oh that our prayers turn into prayers of restoration. That our dry riverbeds flow again with His anointing and presence and let the dust of our flawed wisdom be swept away forever.
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