and her gates languish;
her people lament on the ground,
and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.
Her nobles send their servants for water;
they come to the cisterns;
they find no water;
they return with their vessels empty;
they are ashamed and confounded
and cover their heads.
Because of the ground that is dismayed,
since there is no rain on the land,
the farmers are ashamed;
they cover their heads.
Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn
because there is no grass.
The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights;
they pant for air like jackals;
their eyes fail
because there is no vegetation.
“’Though our iniquities testify against us,
act, O Lord, for your name’s sake;
for our backslidings are many;
we have sinned against you.
O you hope of Israel,
its savior in time of trouble…
Why should you be like a man confused,
like a mighty warrior who cannot save?
Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us,
and we are called by your name;
do not leave us.’
“Thus says the Lord concerning this people:
‘They have loved to wander thus;
they have not restrained their feet.'” Jeremiah 14:1-8a,9-10a
Sin begets distance begets arid, fruitless living. While droughts in the East were not uncommon, they were difficult, and depict vividly and knowingly the state of a dry spirit bereft of Christ. Anyone too familiar with iniquity and distant from heavenly communion languishes, thirsty in soul for meaning and hope. Only the Lord can act for saving, can in mercy restrain the wanderer and dole out living water that sates the deepest need. (John 7: 37-38)
We may find ourselves in a drought of inspiration or direction, or love for someone with whom God has connected us. We are confounded at the empty well of desire, and feel ashamed of our ineptness and backsliding. The hope of Israel enters the midst of these troubled times, and intervenes redemptively for the sake of His name and purpose.
What habits of neglect and filling my time with insignificant activity have I allowed to wedge distance between my Lord and me? What sins have I tolerated or nursed, and what unrighteous attitudes have I fed, that impair my intimacy with Jesus?
What part have I played in a relational distance that God calls me to remedy? His command that I love, serve, and forgive, are not dependent on the behavior or response of the other. My accountability is to my Commander. What will it take to repent once for all of my cold heart, my stubborn lack of forgiveness, my deep-seated bitterness, and begins an act of my will, to love as Christ loved me? When will I yield flesh-passions to His remaking? I can do much to narrow the distance by doing my part, and leave the rest to the Lord of oneness and intimacy.
Lord, in any distance nagging or grown, draw me back to You. In any self-imposed separation from one You’ve called me to love, rejoin my heart and effort. I look to You to bring times of refreshing and fruitfulness where with me they are impossible. (Jeremiah 14:20-22; Matthew 19:26; Acts 3:19-20)