Broken Cisterns or Living Fountains?

None of us should forget the extreme drought our golden state (California) endured until only last year. It's a fact that we never really appreciate the blessing of water until we start to run dry! Well, the rains finally came, but even now we are still required to use water judiciously to offset any future risk of impending drought. While the rains might hold back on one hand and cause extreme dryness of the land, as wise stewards we should not squander heaven’s blessing and drain our cisterns dry.

Israel of old was once pictured as suffering from drought. Not in consequence of any physical water mismanagement but because of spiritual water mismanagement. In other words they were smitten with spiritual drought for drinking the wrong kind of water at the wrong kind of cistern.

Notice how this was depicted in the book of Jeremiah. “For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed themselves out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13. God’s grievance with Israel was that while maintaining an outward semblance of religion they had actually forsaken Him. Refusing to learn from their  history, God again rebukes His people in verse 8. “The priests said not, where is The Lord? And they that handle the law knew Me not; the pastors also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.”

One might think that Israel would have learned that chasing other gods always landed them in trouble. Not just in God having to finally chasten them, but prior to that, the poor quality of life that ensued while serving pagan deities. From the family to society at large, everything took a nose dive. From financially to militarily, the nation always declined in lockstep with their declining morals. They still desired God's blessing and the prosperity which it brought, but that could never be. In vain they drank at the pagan fountains. They drank indeed at broken cisterns that could hold no water.

Moving to a personal application, such imagery aptly fits the backsliding Christian who forsakes God to drink again at the fountains of false religion or earthly pleasure. Life is never the same for those who’ve once tasted the living waters that only Christ can give. It's interesting but sad that someone can fall away and lose their relish for Jesus and His righteousness, and yet never forget how happy they once were when they drank from His cup. It's such memories that they can never fully shake off. If the truth were known, once in a while during some quiet and honest moment they remember how good life was with Jesus. But now dry and emptied of His presence, they ring hollow like a broken cistern.

In spite of his hatred and constant striving against God, even Satan cannot forget the far happier times he once enjoyed in heaven before his fall. Such recollections will sweep over him during the great white throne judgement of Revelation 20. The Great Controversy describes it as follows: “Satan seems paralyzed as he beholds the glory and majesty of Christ. He who was once a covering cherub remembers whence he has fallen … From the counsel where once he was honored, he is forever excluded … He has seen the crown placed upon the head of Christ by an angel of lofty stature and majestic presence, and that the exalted position of this angel might have been his...Memory recalls the home of his innocence and purity, the peace and contentment that were his until he indulged in murmuring against God and envy of Christ.” (p. 669)

Tragically at that same time, countless others will also lament the loss of their eternal life and the happiness they once knew as God's children. The cost of drinking at the broken cisterns of this world will come home to them with dreadful force.

But such does not have to be! God's mercy still lingers, even for those who’ve lost their desire to drink at His well. God's well is still full and His fountains send the living water upward for the dry and barren to still drink! But the dry and barren soul must still come in faith, believing that God still loves them and can water again the inner wilderness - believing that as they come and choose to drink, God will revive their dry and barren souls and create anew the longing to know Him as in earlier times. The dry inner desert can again become a well watered garden, spiritually green and fragrant with the return of heaven’s joy to the renewed soul.

On the last day of the feast of tabernacles in AD 30, Jesus stood in the temple and cried aloud, “If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37,38.

For anyone who has never drunk from Jesus, His promise awaits their demand and will be surely fulfilled. And for those who used to drink but fell away, the Savior has never forgotten them just as surely as they have never fully forgotten Him. To these He offers again the cup filled fresh and overflowing from the fountain of His abounding grace! To these Jesus says, “Drink now from my cup and never again from the broken cisterns of this world that can hold no water!”

“And the Spirit and the bride say come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17.

Pastor Mike Thompson


Discipleship University Begins!

Join us on Sabbath, September 15 @ 2 PM in Central's Camellia Room as we begin the study of the gospels together, along with the combined reading of The Desire of Ages and Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing. You'll truly receive a blessing!


Annual Ladies Salad Supper 

Ladies, bring your favorite salad in your favorite bowl to Central's Camellia Room on Sunday, September 16 at 4 PM. Bread, beverages and dessert will be provided. Bring a friend. Our guest speaker, Dr. Marilee Dalton.


Join Us For Our Annual Church Picnic!

One of the most enjoyable times of the year is when our church family comes together for our annual church picnic. Bring family or friends. All food is provided. Adventurers will offer dessert for a donation. Come one, come all!


New Church Directory!

Make your portrait appointment today! Each participating family will receive a free 8x10 portrait as well as a printed copy of our new church directory. You can sign up at saccentral.org/lifetouch, or you can call 1.866.756.0281. It's that easy!


Operation Joash Update #8

We thank the Lord for how He is leading us as we seek to restore the church building and property to its original condition. Check out the stats on the image to the left. Click on the image to learn more about Operation Joash.


Amazing Prophecies CDs Available!

Order a set of this amazing 12-night prophecy series recently conducted by Pastor Chris Buttery. Topics include: "The Curse of the Forbidden Prophecy" and "King of the North Rises". Call 916.457.6511 to get yours now.


Helping Fire Victims

There are four ways to help Northern California fire victims: (1) Donate online at https://pushpay.com/pay/nccsda; (2) Text NCCSDA to 77977 to give; (3) Mark “NCC Disaster Relief” on your tithe envelope; (4) Continue to pray.



Click on the Calendar to find out what else is happening at Central this month - from Sabbath speakers, to events, plus much, much more!



Podcasts Available

Every Central Study Hour class and sermon can be viewed and downloaded by going to our website. This is an easy way for you to invite friends and family to listen to important Bible messages coming from Central.


Central Happenings is published by the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, 6045 Camellia Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95819 www.saccentral.org

Sacramento Central Ministry Team: Chris Buttery, Lead Pastor; Mike Thompson, Associate; Fred Dana, Associate; Michael Butler, Youth/Young Adult; JeAnn Davis, Bible Instructor

Central Happenings: Chris Buttery, Editor; Chrystal White, Copy Editor/Distributor