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.
Read Chapter 2
Ambrose of Milan
So when the whole world was parched with the drought of Gentile superstition, then came that dew of the heavenly visits on the fleece. But after that the lost sheep of the house of Israel (whom I think that the figure of the Jewish fleece foreshadowed), after that those sheep, I say, “had refused the fountain of living water,” the dew of moistening faith dried up in the breasts of the Jews and that divine Fountain turned away its course to the hearts of the Gentiles. - "On the Holy Spirit 1.Intro.7"
And so the church of the soul went down to the fountain of wisdom to fill its own vessel and drew up the teachings of pure wisdom that the Jews did not wish to draw from the flowing fountain. Listen to him as he says who that fountain is: “They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water.” - "Isaac, or the Soul 1.2"
Is it right to say that what is God’s offspring and proper to him exists out of nothing? Or, is it reasonable in the very idea that what is from God has accrued to him, that someone should dare to say that the Son does not always exist? For in this again the generation of the Son exceeds and transcends human thoughts, that we become parents of our own children in time, since we ourselves first did not exist and then came into being. But God, in that he always exists, is always Father of the Son. And the origination of humankind is brought home to us from parallel experiences. However, since “no one knows the Son but the Father, and no one knows the Father but the Son, and the one to whom the Son will reveal him,” therefore the sacred writers to whom the Son has revealed him have given us a certain image from things visible, saying, “Who is the brightness of his glory and the expression of his person”; and again, “For with you is the well of life, and in your light shall we see lights.”...
The arrogance of pride, the pleasure of lust and the poison of curiosity are the motions of a dead soul. It is not that it is dead in such a way as to lack all movement; rather, it dies by “abandoning the fountain of life” and thus is taken up by the transitory world and is conformed to it. - "Confessions 13.21.30"
Iniquity lies to itself either by corrupting the nature you have made and ordained or by perverting it. It lies to itself when it practices an immoderate use of things permitted or when it burns for things forbidden to that use which is against nature. It lies to itself when convicted, raging with heart and voice against you as it kicks against the goads, or when—breaking through the pale of human society—they audaciously rejoice in private cliques or divisions on the basis of whether they have been pleased or offended. These things happen whenever you are abandoned and whenever, from a self-willed pride, they choose to align themselves instead with something false that they cherish instead of you, O Fountain of life, the one, true Creator and Ruler of the universe. - "Confessions 3.8.16"
Doubtless the heretics, who follow the teachings of demons, who think up false systems under the impulse of their spirit, who let it be known that they have seen visions that they have not seen and by their deadly arguments sow their seed in foolish and credulous hearts—doubtless these are the ones who do not hold the head, namely, Christ, the source of truth. Whatever is opposed to his teaching is without sense, and these are the “blind, leaders of the blind,” of whom I think it is said, “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and have dug for themselves broken cisterns that can hold no water.” - "Letter 121"
“He has opened a pit and dug it.” We do not find the name of “pit” ever assigned in the divine Scriptures to something good or a “well” of water to something bad. That into which Joseph was thrown by his brothers is a pit. There is a slaughter “from the firstborn of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the captive woman that was in prison.” In the Psalms, “I am counted among those who go down to the pit.” In Jeremiah it is said, “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and have dug to themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” - "Homilies on the Psalms 11.8 (Ps 7)"
Is he not one who bewitches the sheep of our patriarch, that they may not drink from the pure water that springs up unto life everlasting but may draw down on themselves the saying of the prophet: “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and have dug for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water”? Because they should confess that the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God, as the divine Word teaches and as they who have pondered it more deeply have taught. - "Letter 8"
We read the letter you wrote concerning those who seem baptized among heretics and schismatics, as to whether they ought to be baptized when they come to the church catholic, which is one. On this matter, although you yourselves hold the truth and certainty of the catholic rule, yet since you have thought that of our mutual love we ought to be consulted, we put forward our opinion, not as a new one though. Rather, we join with you in equal agreement, in an opinion long since decreed by our predecessors and observed by us—judging and holding it for certain that no one can be baptized outside the church, since there is one baptism appointed in the holy church. And it is written in the words of the Lord, “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” - "Letter 69.1"
Let him “possess his vessel in sanctification and honor,” let him drink of his own wells, not out of the dissolute cisterns of the harlots that cannot hold within them the pure waters of chastity. - "Letter 128.3"
O blessed change! Once the body wept, but now laughs forevermore. Once it desired the broken cisterns of which the prophet speaks, but now it has been satisfied in the Lord, the fountain of life. - "Letter 108.22"
Still the Anomoeans have another well-rehearsed argument. What is that? Scripture says, “God is spirit.” Tell me, then, does that bring his essence to light? Will anyone accept that argument if he has even drawn a little way near to the doors of the divine Scriptures? According to that argument, God will also be fire, just as it has been written that God is spirit, so has it been written, “Our God is a consuming fire,” and again, “a fountain of living water.” Not only will God be a spirit and a fountain and a fire; he will also be a soul, a wind, a human mind, and other things far more absurd than these. - "Against the Anomoeans 5.41"
By reason, therefore, of this bath of repentance and knowledge of God, which has been ordained on account of the transgression of God’s people, as Isaiah cries, we have believed and testify that that very baptism that he announced is alone able to purify those who have repented. This is the water of life. But the cisterns that you have dug for yourselves are broken and profitless to you. - "Dialogue with Trypho 14"
We do not receive that useless baptism of cisterns, for it has nothing to do with this baptism of life. This is why God also announced that you have forsaken him, the living fountain, and dug for yourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water. - "Dialogue with Trypho 19"
Jacob, as I have remarked before, being himself a type of Christ, had married the two handmaids of his two free wives and had sons by them. He did this to indicate ahead of time that Christ would receive even all those who among Japheth’s race are descendants of Canaan equally with the free and would have their children be heirs with them. This is what we are. But you cannot comprehend this because you cannot drink of the living fountain of God but of broken cisterns that can hold no water, as the Scripture says. - "Dialogue with Trypho 140"
Our hearts are thus circumcised from evil so that we are happy to die for the name of the good Rock that causes living water to burst forth for the hearts of those who by him have loved the Father of all and that allows those who are willing to drink of the water of life. But you do not comprehend what I am saying when I speak these things. You have not understood what has been prophesied about what Christ would do. You do not believe us when we draw your attention to what has been written. For Jeremiah thus cries, “Woe to you! You have forsaken the living fountain and have dug for yourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water. Shall there be a wilderness where Mount Zion is, because I gave Jerusalem a bill of divorce in your sight?” - "Dialogue with Trypho 114"
But since many heresies have existed and the people of God have been torn apart at the instigation of demons, the truth must be briefly exposed by us and placed in its own peculiar dwelling place, so that if any one shall desire to draw the water of life, he may not be born to broken cisterns that hold no water but may know the abundant fountain of God. Watered by this fountain, he may enjoy perpetual light. - "Divine Institutes 4.30"
In fact, with us is “the living water,” the very water that gushes from Christ. But you, separated from the everlasting fountain, from where do you receive your birth? And likewise had the Holy Spirit not departed from the original mother; from which did it come to you? Of course, perhaps the Spirit has followed one who engages in strife and, having abandoned so many priests and not content with its consecrated dwelling place, has truly loved the broken cistern of an impure fountain? From where do your people possess the Spirit, those whom an anointed priest has not sealed? From where do they possess the water, those who have withdrawn from their mother’s womb? From where do they possess spiritual renewal, those who have lost the cradle of nuptial peace? - "Letter 3.3.1"
This “tree” is a mystery. In ancient times, Moses sweetened the bitter water with it. The people who were perishing of thirst in the desert drank and were revived because of it. We do this, too. We were drawn out from the calamities of the world in which we were lingering, perishing with thirst (that is, deprived of the divine Word). We drank “by the faith which is on him,” the baptismal water of the “tree” of the passion of Christ. We have revived the faith from which Israel has fallen away, as foretold through Jeremiah, who says, “Send, and continue to ask whether such things have been done, whether nations will change their gods (and these are not gods!). But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled at this, O heavens!”—and when were they appalled? Undoubtedly when Christ suffered—“and be shocked,” he says, “utterly desolate.” - "An Answer to the Jews 13"