What is a cistern in the bible

what is a cistern in the bible

Broken Cisterns

Bible Dictionaries - Easton's Bible Dictionary - Cistern. Cistern 9364 [S] the rendering of a Hebrew word bor, which means a receptacle for water conveyed to it; distinguished from beer, which denotes a place where water rises on the spot (Jeremiah ; Proverbs ; Isaiah ), a fountain. Cisterns are frequently mentioned in Scripture. The scarcity of springs in Palestine made it necessary . Cistern in Smith's Bible Dictionary A receptacle for water, either conducted from an external spring or proceeding from rain-fall. The dryness of the summer months and the scarcity of springs in Judea made cisterns a necessity, and they are frequent throughout the whole of Syria and Palestine.

And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all! In Bible times, a cistern was an artificial reservoir that was dug into the earth or carved into rock for collecting and storing water. Israel has a long dry season with relatively few natural springs, so catching winter rain in cisterns was very important.

Fresh water was extremely valuable, so a broken cistern was practically worthless. Cracked rock or crumbling masonry could hold only a small amount of dirty water - or maybe no water at all. Collecting and storing water in a broken cistern was about as practical as using a what do food critics do for a canteen!

The message was given as a rebuke to people who were no longer totally committed to their God. And that message certainly can be applied to believers today. To appreciate the full impact of the broken cistern message, let's look a little more closely at the historical context of Jeremiah Jeremiah preached in a day when the people of Judah, the southern portion of the nation of Israel, had turned away from God to do their own thing.

They were no longer devoted to the Lord or depending on Him to meet their spiritual needs. Not surprisingly, the people of Judah found that these cisterns of their own making were broken. They never held any water!

This is always true of our self-made schemes to find spiritual fulfillment apart from the Lord. Only God Himself can quench our spiritual thirst. When the foolish people of Judah turned away from the Lord, they were guilty of two evils.

Constructing an artificial spiritual reservoir was bad enough, but rejecting water from the life-giving Spring was tragic! Imagine a what is a cistern in the bible thirsty person in a parched land, ignoring a bubbling spring of cool water, only to hack out a cistern in the blazing sun hoping to collect some rain water!

Without a natural spring nearby, a cistern would be the best thing you could do. If you were unaware of a nearby spring, at least you could be pitied for your diligent efforts to try to collect some water.

God painted this picture in words to show His people how utterly foolish they were when they turned away from Him. And unlike Judah, these pagan nations were loyal to their gods v The people of Judah deliberately turned away from what they knew was their Source of Living Water.

The heavens were called on to be appalled and "shudder with great horror" at such foolishness, such stupidity, and such evil v Is it possible that some Christians today are guilty of this same thing? Have we become so accustomed to the Living Water that we've wandered away from the Fountain to search for tasty water elsewhere?

Have we foolishly built our own cisterns? What about our pursuits of a successful career? What about the time we spend on our phones or Netflix, or other recreational activities? Some believers spend enormous amounts of time looking at their screens, but they spend little if any time reading Scripture. Have these things become more interesting than God's Word? If we're turning away from the living Word and seeking to satisfy our thirst in some other way, we may be guilty of the same sins as the people of Judah.

Let's apply God's broken cistern message to our own nation. This country was founded on the premise of a "nation under God. God was recognized as sovereign over the state and the church, and as the One "from whom all blessings how does the black widow spider adapt to the desert. Today, secularism has infiltrated and changed the mindset of our nation.

God has been banned from the sphere of the State, and restricted to the sphere of the Church. Not only is His sovereignty over the state denied, but His very existence is questioned--even opposed--by many.

Our nation has turned from the Fountain of Living Waters to how to install jar file on mobile cisterns of secular humanism.

Our nation not only allows, but condones, these broken cisterns that deny God and the teaching of the Bible. Lapping the stagnant, muddy waters of these cisterns not only fails to quench spiritual thirst - it leads ultimately to the poison of dehumanization. Look at the murky waters of evolution, for example, compared to the biblical teaching of the noble beginnings of mankind, created in the image of God! Look at the disillusionment and heartbreak of shattered marriages and broken families that result from drinking at the humanistic cistern of sexual freedom.

God gave the nation of Judah many chances to return, but they refused. In terms of the illustration, verse 18 indicates that instead of returning to God, they turned to the river waters of the Nile and the Euphrates. In other words, they looked to the gods and governments of Egypt and Assyria for protection and provision.

As a result, the Lord declared that His people would reap what they had sown v Judah was conquered and taken away into exile in Babylon, on the Euphrates River, where they drank the bitter waters they had chosen.

The survivors who were left in Israel ran away to Egypt, against the explicit counsel of the Lord through Jeremiah. There they died by the waters of the River Nile Jeremiah The consequences of turning away from God are just as serious and sure today as they were 2, years ago.

Why not avoid all the struggle and desperate thirst? Why not drink forever at the Fountain of Living Waters! Growing Christians Ministries. Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Likes. Devotions Ron Reid November 19,

Most Relevant Verses

Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me. CISTERN (????, H; LXX ???????). These covered receptacles for the storage of water were used in the Near E from earliest times. They were cut into impervious clay or rock, and filled with rain water through drains, or by other methods. In form, the cistern was frequently “pear-shaped,” which made a small opening and cover possible, though a great variety of other shapes was used. Cistern (21 Occurrences) 2. (n.) A natural reservoir; a hollow place containing water. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. CISTERN; WELL; POOL; AQUEDUCT. sis /c/euro-caspian.com - 29k. Aqueduct (4 Occurrences) and fourth ventricles of the brain. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. CISTERN; WELL; POOL; AQUEDUCT. sis'-tern: Use of Terms 1. General.

Empty cisterns were sometimes used as prisons Jeremiah ; Lamentations ; Psalm ; The "pit" into which Joseph was cast Genesis was a beer or dry well. There are numerous remains of ancient cisterns in all parts of Palestine. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary 1. An artificial reservoir or tank for holding water, beer, or other liquids. A natural reservoir; a hollow place containing water.

General 2. Wells or Cylindrical Cisterns 3. Private Cisterns 4. Public Cisterns 5. Pools and Aqueducts 6. The latter word is frequently in the King James Version translated "well.

In Psalm the cognate berakhah, is changed to "blessing. General: The efforts made to supplement the natural water supply, both in agricultural and in populated areas, before as well as after the Conquest, are clearly seen in the innumerable cisterns, wells and pools which abound throughout Palestine The rainy season, upon which the various storage systems depend, commences at the end of October and ends in the beginning of May.

In Jerusalem, the mean rainfall in 41 years up to was 25, 81 inches, falling in a mean number of 56 days see Glaisher, Meteorological Observations, Toward the end of summer, springs and wells, where they have not actually dried up, diminish very considerably, and cisterns and open reservoirs become at times the only sources of supply. Cisterns are fed from surface and roof drainage.

Except in the rare instances where springs occur, wells depend upon percolation. The' great open reservoirs or pools are fed from surface drainage and, in some cases, by aqueducts from springs or from more distant collecting pools. In the case of private cisterns, it is the custom of the country today to close up the inlets during the early days of the rain, so as to permit of a general wash down of gathering surfaces, before admitting the water.

Cisterns, belonging to the common natives, are rarely cleansed, and the inevitable scum which collects is dispersed by plunging the pitcher several times before drawing water. When the water is considered to be bad, a somewhat primitive cure is applied by dropping earth into the cistern, so as to sink all impurities with it, to the bottom.

The accumulation often found in ancient cisterns probably owes some of its presence to this same habit. Wells or Cylindrical Cisterns: It is necessary to include wells under the head of cisterns, as there appears to be some confusion in the use of the two terms. Wells, so called, were more often deep cylindrical reservoirs, the lower part of which was sunk in the rock and cemented, the upper part being built with open joints, to receive the surface percolation.

They were often of great depth. Job's well at Jerusalem, which is certainly of great antiquity, is ft. The discovery of "living water" when digging a well, recorded in Genesis margin, appears to have been an unusual incident.

Uzziah hewed out many cisterns in the valley for his cattle 2 Chronicles , 10 the Revised Version British and American , and he built towers, presumably to keep watch over both cattle and cisterns.

Isaac "digged again the wells" which had been filled in by the Philistines Genesis Wells were frequently dug in the plain, far from villages, for flocks and herds, and rude stone troughs were provided nearby. The well was usually covered with a stone, through which a hole was pierced sufficiently large to allow of free access for the pitchers.

A stone was placed over this hole Genesis when the well was not in use. The great amount of pottery found in ancient cisterns suggests that clay pots were used for drawing water see Bible Sidelights, Josephus Ant.

This would seem to apply to wide-mouthed wells which had not been narrowed over to receive a stone cover. It may have been a well or cistern similar to these into which Joseph was cast Genesis In fact, dry-wells and cisterns formed such effective dungeons, that it is very probable they were often used for purposes of detention.

From earliest times, wells have been the cause of much strife. The covenant between Abimelech and Abraham at Beersheba Genesis 32 was a necessity, no less pressing then than it is now. The well, today, is a center of life in the East.

Women gather around it in pursuit of their daily duties, and travelers, man and beast, divert their course thereto, if needs be, for refreshment; and news of the outer world is carried to and from the well. It is, in fact, an all-important center, and daily presents a series of characteristic Bible scenes.

The scene between Rebekah and the servant of Abraham Genesis is one with frequent parallels. The well lies usually at some little distance from the village or city. Abraham's servant made his "camels to kneel down without the city by the well of water at the time of the evening, the time that women go out to draw water. Moses helped the daughters of the priest of Midian at the well, which was evidently at some distance from habitation Exodus Private Cisterns: Private cisterns must be distinguished from public cisterns or wells.

They were smaller and were sunk in the rocks within private boundaries, each owner having his own cistern 2 Kings Proverbs Ancient sites are honeycombed with these cisterns. A common type in Jerusalem seems to have been bottle-shaped in section, the extended bottom part being in the softer rock, and the narrow neck in the hard upper stratum. Many irregularly shaped cisterns occur with rock vaults supported by rock or masonry piers. Macalister tells of the discovery at Gezer of a small silt catchpit attached to a private cistern, and provided with an overflow channel leading to the cistern.

It is an early instance of a now well-known method of purification. The universal use of cement rendering to the walls of the cisterns was most necessary to seal up the fissures of the rock. The "broken cisterns" Jeremiah probably refer to insufficiently sealed cisterns.

Public Cisterns: Besides private cisterns there were huge public rock-cut cisterns within the city walls. The great water caverns under the Temple area at Jerusalem show a most extensive system of water storage see Recovery of Jerusalem, chapter vii. There are 37 of these described in Palestine Exploration Fund, "Jerus," , and the greatest is an immense rock-cut cavern the roof of which is partly rock and partly stone, supported by rock piers see Fig.

It is 43 ft. This cistern is fed by an aqueduct from Solomon's Pools about 10 miles distant by road, and is locally known as Bahar el Kebir, the "Great Sea. SeePalestine Exploration Fund Statement, , In this example, the pool of spring water is reached by a great rock-tunnel staircase which descends 94 ft.

The staircase diminishes in size as it descends, and at its greatest, it is 23 ft. These proportions may seem unnecessarily large, but may be accounted for by the necessity for providing light at the water level. As a matter of fact, the brink of the pool receives the light from above. The work dates back to pre-Israelite times. Pools and Aqueducts: Open pools were common in every city. They were cut out of the rock and were built and cemented at points where occasion demanded.

They were often of great size. The pool outside Jerusalem known as Birket es Sultan measures ft. The latter probably owes its origin to the rock-cut fosse of early Jewish date. The Birket es Sultan, on the other hand, probably dates from the time of the Turkish occupation. They may, however, be taken as examples, which, if somewhat larger, are still in accord with the pool system of earlier history. Pools were usually fed by surface drainage, and in some cases by aqueducts from springs at some distance away.

They seem to have been at the public service, freely accessible to both man and beast. Pools situated outside the city walls were sometimes connected by aqueducts with pools within the city, so that the water could be drawn within the walls in time of siege. The so-called Pools of Solomon, three in number see Fig. The water from these pools is conveyed in a wonderfully engineered course, known as the lower-level aqueduct, which searches the winding contours of the Judean hills for a distance of about 15 miles, before reaching its destination in "the great sea" under the Temple area.

This aqueduct is still in use, but its date is uncertain see G. Smith, Jerusalem, , where the author finds reason for ascribing it to the period of Herod. The course and destination of another aqueduct known as the high-level aqueduct is less definite. These aqueducts are of varying dimensions. The low-level aqueduct at a point just before it enters the Temple area was found to measure 3 ft.

There are many remains of rock-cut aqueducts throughout Palestine see Fig. The great tunnel and pool at Gezer lends a measure of support to this hypothesis. On the other hand, a plea for a Hebrew origin is also in a measure strengthened by the very slight reference in the Old Testament to such a great engineering feat as the cutting of the Siloam tunnel, which is doubtless the work of Hezekiah.

The pool of Siloam was originally a simple rock-cut reservoir within the walls, and was constructed by Hezekiah 2 Chronicles It measures 75 ft. It is the upper pool of Isaiah A lower overflow pool existed immediately beyond, contained by the city wall across the Tyropoeon valley.

The aqueduct which supplies the upper pool takes a tortuous course of about 1, ft. The water reaches the pool on the Southwest of the spur of Ophel, and it was in the rock walls of this aqueduct that the famous Siloam inscription recording the completion of the work was discovered. Herod embellished the upper pool, lining it with stone and building arches around its four sides see Palestine Exploration Fund, Excavations at Jerusalem, , and the pool was most likely in this condition in the time of Christ John , 7.

There are numerous other pools, cisterns and aqueducts in and around Jerusalem, which provide abundant evidence of the continual struggle after water, made by its occupants of all times see G. Smith, Jerusalem, chapter v, volume I. Figurative Uses: Good wives are described as cisterns Proverbs Idols, armies and material objects in which Israel trusted were "broken cisterns" Jeremiah , see above "soon emptied of all the aid and comfort which they possess, and cannot fill themselves again.

Dickie Greek


  1. Hmm, you say the project files are free in all videos, but none of them actually are. I hate bait and switch

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