The weeping prophet wrote one of the most difficult books to read in the Bible, but on this very solid premise: the people had abandoned God. He spent forty years reasoning with Judah to repent and when they would not repent and were taken captive by the Babylonians, he pleaded with them to not resist and thus not be utterly destroyed. Jeremiah described their situation as this:
“Has a nation changed gods
When they were not gods?
But My people have changed their glory
For that which does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
And shudder, be very desolate,” declares the Lord.
“For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
That can hold no water.”
– Jer 2.11-13
God is a fountain of living waters. Jesus promised the Samaritan woman at the well that whoever drank of the water He provided would never thirst again (John 4.14). But the people abandoned a stream of fresh water for pots that are placed under ground to collect rain water, but that are cracked and can hold nothing! They are man made, they collect the rain water, and they are broken and utterly useless.
They had denied the source for a broken tool of retention.
And God proclaims this as two separate evils: 1) denying Him, and 2) embracing false gods.
Where do you place your trust?
Where do you find your satisfaction?
Jesus taught that to know Him was to have eternal life (John 6.37). It starts now and goes on through eternity, not just after death. Do you love and cherish Jesus, eagerly awaiting His return? It is those who are waiting for Him for whom He will come (Heb 9.28). Or have you believed society that happiness is found in the house you own, the car you drive, the spouse you love, the children you have, the vacations you take, or the fame you achieve? If we are not living for God we are living for something else. You might literally worship another god, or you might live for your pleasure or success.
And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’
– Luke 12.16-20
To deny serving God is to serve something else. And to choose to serve God is to deny serving everything else. This is the core of repentance: to turn away from all sin and worldliness and turn to God. And that is why eternal life starts now! Because God has given us everything that we need for life and for godliness in the Scripture and in His provision (2 Peter 1.3). He will meet all of our needs in the way that best leads to our holiness and His glory (Luke 12.22-31).
Logically it makes perfect sense. If you want water, will you dip a ladle into a broken underground pot that is dry? Or would you choose to go to the fresh spring that is bubbling cool, moving water? You must sacrifice to go to the spring. You must deny the work of your hands, the pot that you formed, the hole that you dug and the convenience that you believed it to provide.
But remember, to cling to your own pot is to deny the spring. You will be thirsty. And ultimately you will die.