Jeremiah 2: Israel’s Faith is Like a Broken Cistern

(37 verses, 5:50 to read)

What I am about to READ

  • Jeremiah is blasting away at the idolatry of Israel, preaching the law, and especially the First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods.”


  • We can divide this chapter into seven parts, all on the same topic of Israel’s idolatry.
    • 2:1-3, the Lord reminds the people of the Exodus, His protection and provision for the people.
    • 2:4-8, the Lord asks how He wronged the people such that they went after other Gods. (Baal and the false prophets are introduced in verse 8.)
    • 2:9-13, the Lord asks Israel to consider the pagan nations, and see which of these has changed gods! Even those who worship the false gods are consistent. Israel, then, is charged with two sins: forsaking the true God, and going after the false gods.
    • 2:14-19, the Lord establishes that the troubles of Israel cannot be helped by looking to the nations around them. Egypt and Assyria cannot help them. Their problem is God, and it is all caused by their forsaking the Lord.
    • 2:20-25, in a passage full of intense imagery, the Lord reminds Israel that He set them free, and they have run to the slavery of sin and idolatry.
    • 2:26-32, the Lord mocks the people, who are now in trouble, telling them to look to their idols for help. “If you worship the trees and the rocks, look to them to help you in your time of need.”
    • 2:33-37, a final warning that the Lord will punish the sins of the people, their idols will be no help.



  • Consider reading this chapter again and looking for some of the rich imagery. Here are a few choice passages to consider (quoting from the World English Bible):
    • 2:11, Has a nation changed its gods, which really are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which doesn’t profit.
    • 2:13, For my people have committed two evils:
      they have forsaken me, the spring of living waters,
      and cut out cisterns for themselves: broken cisterns that can’t hold water.
    • 2:16, The children also of Memphis and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of your head.
    • 2:21, Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a pure and faithful seed.
      How then have you turned into the degenerate branches of a foreign vine to me?
    • 2:24, You are a swift dromedary traversing her ways, 24 a wild donkey used to the wilderness, that sniffs the wind in her craving.
      When she is in heat, who can turn her away?
      All those who seek her will not weary themselves. In her month, they will find her.
    • 2:27, … tell wood, ‘You are my father,’ and a stone, ‘You have given birth to me,’ for they have turned their back to me, and not their face;
      but in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise, and save us!’
    • 2:32, Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire?
      Yet my people have forgotten me for days without number.
    • 2:34, Also the blood of the souls of the innocent poor is found in your skirts.
      You didn’t find them breaking in,
      but it is because of all these things.
  • Any of these images is well worth the time to meditate on.

Questions? Comments? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Lord’s Blessings,
Pr Bryan Wolfmueller (
Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, CO




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