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Cracked Cisterns

Two sins have my people committed; they have forsaken me, a spring of living water, and they have hewn themselves cisterns, cracked cisterns that can hold no water. -- Jeremiah 2:13

Photo: Alvis Taurens
Lately, I have been struggling with finding a “place for the singing of angels” (Howard Thurman) in my life. Both the horrible decisions made against the marginalized of our society and the personal concerns and responsibilities that presently plague me have strained my consciousness of the presence of God. Constant worry eclipses spiritual nurture and I am having a hard time being able to surrender. Thus, the cistern of which Jeremiah speaks (2:13) is quite damaged and unable to hold life-giving water; this is also the state of the cistern being built by those in government who are dismantling as many structures as possible to make life for those on the fringes unsustainable. Because I am unable to “keep the inward and outward working of love in balance” (Eva Pinthus), my ability to witness to the struggles of the wider world is limited. I am taking steps to try to mitigate the damage, but it may take awhile to approach some sense of normalcy.

When I do see the events unfolding that destroy rather than create life, I find it difficult to keep an open heart or have hope. I am very aware of who is missing at the table, but I feel powerless to do anything about it. I also find it extremely challenging to accept the idea that everyone has a seat at the table when the table is ‘owned’ by those who have the power and money to keep ‘the other’ out. It is almost as if there needs to be a separate table to which the rich and powerful are not invited so that everyone else can partake of the dialogue and share the resources. I know this goes against the ideal of everyone being welcomed at the table, but it is nearly impossible to leap the hurdle between those who reject the humanity and worth of others and those who need to be heard and shown compassion. I respect the good intentions of those who want to bridge political divisions but cannot see it succeeding if it continues to be so one-sided. So much damage has been done that continuing to seek reconciliation without addressing the causes of the rift will not result in justice and peace being attained. So, I have a lot of inner work to do and I pray that the spring of living water can be rejuvenated within me so that I can, in turn, give drink to the thirsty of our world.

Lisa Erazmus