A Fountain of Tears

Jesus Wept (Jésus pleura) by James Tissot

Jesus Wept (Jésus pleura)
by James Tissot

Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people.   Oh, that I had in the desert a lodging place for travelers, so that I might leave my people and go away from them; for they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people.   “They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me,” declares the Lord .   “Beware of your friends; do not trust anyone in your clan. For every one of them is a deceiver,  and every friend a slanderer.   Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.   You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the Lord .   Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says: “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?   Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully. With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors, but in their hearts they set traps for them.   Should I not punish them for this?” declares the Lord . “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?”   I will weep and wail for the mountains and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands. They are desolate and untraveled, and the lowing of cattle is not heard. The birds have all fled and the animals are gone. – Jeremiah 9:1-10

The opening sentence of this passage has me confused.  It reads: “Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears!”  The person talking here is God and He is reacting to the recalcitrance of His people in Judah and Jerusalem.  I am not sure what to make of the metaphor God is using here. He is comparing His head to a spring of water and His eyes to a fountain  of tears.  It almost sounds like someone who is lamenting their inability to have emotions or weep for a lost loved one.

I suppose God could feel like this in relation to the loss of His people.  From a human perspective it is understandable to become so frustrated with someone that you cease to feel compassion for them.  This is especially true when you feel like that person’s choices are the reason for their hardship and troubles. One has a desire to simply cutoff that person and prevent further heartache.  It seems almost like God has reached this stage with the people of Judah and Jerusalem.  He is ready to take off into the desert rather than continue to deal with these perplexing people.

“They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me,” declares the Lord.  He really just seems fed up and ready to give up on the whole lot of them.  What he decides to do is “refine and test them”.  God does not seem to know what else He can do about the sin of His people.  Of course we know the “rest of the story”.  God does find a way to extend His arm to save all those who acknowledge Him, but not before they endure many hardships and challenges as a result of their choices.  Even Jesus, when He comes will weep over Jerusalem and the people who remain lost there (Luke 19:41).

It seems as though one of the most damming on the list of accusations is that “with their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors, but in their hearts they set traps for them.”  The people appear to be saying one thing and doing another.  They are “speaking deceitfully” about God and their neighbors.  It is interesting that the sin that God is focused on here is one of speaking and what comes out of our mouths rather than specific sins we might do with our bodies.  It speaks to the power of our words and how important it is to reign in our tongues so that we do not contaminate or corrupt the truth.

Prayer: God You show great restraint in loving us even when we behave like spoiled children toward You and our neighbors.

This entry was posted in Covenant, Discernment, Discipleship, Following God, Free Will, God's Love for Us, grace, Jeremiah, Obedience, The Nature of God and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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