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Cistern Definition Bible: Exploring the Meaning and Significance of Cisterns in Scripture

Cistern Definition Bible

The cistern definition in the Bible refers to a large tank or pit used for storing water, typically in ancient times.

Water is an essential element for life, and in ancient times, it was even more crucial. The scarcity of water sources made people develop strategies to collect and store water for future use. One of the most common ways to achieve this was by building cisterns. But what exactly is a cistern? In the Bible, the term cistern appears several times, and its significance goes beyond its mere definition. In this article, we will explore the meaning of cistern in the Bible and how it relates to our spiritual lives.

To begin with, let us define cistern. A cistern is a receptacle or container that collects and stores water. It can be made of various materials such as stone, clay, or concrete and can have different shapes and sizes. Cisterns were essential in ancient times, especially in arid regions where rainfall was scarce and irregular. They were built to capture and preserve rainwater, which was then used for drinking, irrigation, or washing.

Nowadays, cisterns are still in use, although not as commonly as in the past. In some places, they are considered a sustainable solution to water scarcity, and people are encouraged to build them. However, their significance goes beyond their practical use. In the Bible, cisterns have a symbolic meaning that relates to our spiritual lives.

Throughout the Old Testament, cisterns are mentioned numerous times, usually in a metaphorical sense. For example, in the book of Jeremiah, the Lord says, For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water (Jeremiah 2:13). This passage uses cisterns as a metaphor for false gods and idols that people worship instead of the true God. These idols are like broken cisterns, unable to provide the living water that only God can give.

Similarly, in the book of Proverbs, we read, A fountain of life is the mouth of the righteous, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence (Proverbs 10:11). This passage contrasts the righteousness of the righteous with the wickedness of the wicked. The mouth of the righteous is like a fountain of life, giving water to those who thirst for it. On the other hand, the mouth of the wicked conceals violence, like a broken cistern that cannot hold water.

These passages show us that cisterns in the Bible represent more than just a container for water. They symbolize our spiritual life and our relationship with God. The metaphorical cisterns we build for ourselves can be anything that we put our trust in instead of God. It can be material possessions, money, success, or even our own abilities or talents. These cisterns are broken, unable to sustain us or give us the living water that only God can provide.

Therefore, we must be careful about the cisterns we build in our lives. We must seek the true fountain of living waters that comes from God and not rely on broken cisterns that cannot satisfy our thirst. We must trust in God alone and not in the fleeting things of this world. As Jesus said, Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14).

Let us, therefore, seek the living water that comes from God and build our lives on the solid foundation of his love and grace. Let us not rely on broken cisterns that cannot sustain us but trust in the everlasting fountain of life that only God can provide.

The Cistern in the Bible

The cistern is a common feature in the Bible, often used as a metaphor for spiritual truths. It is a pit or well that collects and stores water, providing a vital resource for people in arid regions. But beyond its practical use, the cistern also has symbolic meaning in the Bible, representing both blessings and curses depending on how it is used.

The Blessings of the Cistern

In many instances in the Bible, the cistern represents God's provision and blessing. For example, in Genesis 26, Isaac digs wells in the land of Gerar and discovers a cistern that provides water for his flocks. This leads to a peace treaty with the Philistines and shows God's favor on Isaac.

Similarly, Jeremiah 2:13 compares God to a fountain of living water, and later in 17:13, the prophet exhorts the people of Judah to turn from their sin and trust in God, who is the spring of living water. The cistern, then, can be seen as a physical representation of God's abundant provision for his people.

The Curses of the Cistern

However, the cistern can also represent judgment and punishment for disobedience. In Jeremiah 2:13, the people of Israel are rebuked for forsaking God, the fountain of living water, and digging their own cisterns that cannot hold water. This is a metaphor for their reliance on false gods and their rejection of the true source of life.

In addition, the book of Lamentations uses the image of a broken cistern to describe the devastation of Jerusalem after its destruction by Babylon. The city is described as a once-great cistern that has been shattered, leaving the people without water or hope.

The Spiritual Lessons of the Cistern

What can we learn from the cisterns of the Bible? First, we see that God is the source of all blessings and sustenance. Like a cistern that collects and stores water, God provides for our physical and spiritual needs, but we must trust in him and not rely on our own strength or the false promises of the world.

Second, we see that disobedience and sin lead to judgment and punishment. Just as a broken cistern cannot hold water, so too our attempts to find fulfillment outside of God's will will ultimately fail and leave us empty.

Finally, we see that God's mercy and grace are available even when we have strayed from his path. In Jeremiah 18, God tells the prophet to go to the potter's house and observe how the clay can be reshaped into a vessel of honor or dishonor. This is a reminder that God can still use us and mold us into vessels of his glory, even if we have made mistakes and fallen short of his standards.


In conclusion, the cistern is a powerful image in the Bible that speaks to both the practical and spiritual aspects of life. It reminds us of God's provision and blessing, as well as the consequences of disobedience and sin. But ultimately, it points us to the source of all life and hope, which is found in God alone.

Introduction: Understanding the Significance of Cisterns in the Bible

Cisterns, also known as wells or water storage systems, are an essential part of ancient societies. In the Bible, cisterns are mentioned numerous times, highlighting their importance in the daily lives of the people of Israel. Cisterns were used to collect and store water, which was a precious resource in an arid land. The Bible also uses cisterns as metaphors for various spiritual concepts. Understanding the significance of cisterns in the Bible can help us appreciate the cultural and spiritual context of the ancient world and apply the lessons learned to our lives today.

Biblical Definition of Cisterns: What Does the Bible Say About Cisterns?

The Bible defines cisterns as containers used to gather and store water. In Jeremiah 2:13, God says, My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. This verse highlights the importance of relying on God for our needs and not trusting in our own abilities. The Bible also describes cisterns as a source of refreshment and sustenance. In Proverbs 5:15, it says, Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. This metaphor highlights the importance of fidelity in marriage and relationships.

The Historical Context of Cisterns in the Bible: Why Were They So Important?

Cisterns were crucial in ancient societies because they provided a reliable source of water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. The scarcity of water in the Middle East made it necessary for people to collect and store water during the rainy season to use during the dry season. Cisterns were often built into the ground and lined with plaster or stone to prevent water from seeping out. They could be large enough to hold thousands of gallons of water and were often shared by multiple families or communities. Without cisterns, people would have had to travel long distances to find water, which was a difficult and dangerous task in an arid environment.

Cisterns as Symbols of God's Grace and Provision: How They Connect to Our Spiritual Lives

Cisterns are used as symbols of God's grace and provision in the Bible. In Jeremiah 17:13, it says, Lord, you are the hope of Israel; all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water. This verse highlights the importance of relying on God for our spiritual needs and not turning to other sources for comfort or fulfillment. Cisterns also represent the abundance of God's blessings. In Isaiah 12:3, it says, With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. This metaphor shows that God's salvation is a source of joy and refreshment for those who receive it.

The Spiritual Significance of Broken Cisterns: A Warning Against Idolatry and Sin

Broken cisterns are used as a metaphor for idolatry and sin in the Bible. In Jeremiah 2:13, it says, My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. This verse warns against relying on anything other than God for our spiritual needs. Broken cisterns also represent the consequences of sin. In Isaiah 1:22, it says, Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water. Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow's case does not come before them. This verse shows how sin can corrupt even the most valuable things and lead to spiritual poverty.

Cisterns in Prophetic Literature: A Vision of Restoration and Renewal

Cisterns are used as a symbol of restoration and renewal in prophetic literature. In Isaiah 58:11, it says, The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. This verse shows how God's provision can bring new life and vitality to a parched and barren land. Cisterns also represent the promise of a new covenant. In Jeremiah 31:33, it says, This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. This verse shows how God's grace can transform the hearts and minds of his people and bring about a new relationship with him.

The Practical Use of Cisterns in Ancient Times: How Did People Collect and Store Water?

People in ancient times collected and stored water in cisterns using a variety of methods. They often built cisterns into the ground and lined them with plaster or stone to prevent water from seeping out. They also used rainwater harvesting systems to collect water from rooftops and channel it into cisterns. Some cisterns were built near natural springs or wells to collect water as it flowed out of the ground. Cisterns were often shared by multiple families or communities, and water was drawn using buckets or other containers.

The Archaeological Evidence of Cisterns in the Holy Land: Discovering the Past through Excavation

Archaeological evidence of cisterns in the Holy Land provides valuable insights into the daily lives of ancient societies. Excavations have revealed a wide range of cisterns, from small household cisterns to large communal cisterns that could hold thousands of gallons of water. Some cisterns were decorated with intricate plaster designs or inscriptions, highlighting their importance in the community. Archaeologists have also uncovered evidence of sophisticated rainwater harvesting systems, including channels and gutters that directed water into cisterns.

The Modern-Day Relevance of Cisterns: Learning from the Past to Address Water Scarcity Today

The lessons learned from cisterns in the Bible and ancient societies can be applied to modern-day water scarcity issues. Rainwater harvesting systems and cisterns are being used in many parts of the world to collect and store water for drinking, irrigation, and other uses. These systems can help reduce reliance on expensive and environmentally damaging water sources, such as desalination plants. Cisterns also provide a way for individuals and communities to take control of their water supply and build resilience in the face of drought and other water-related challenges.

Conclusion: Reflecting on the Lessons of Cisterns in the Bible and Our Lives Today

Cisterns are a powerful symbol of God's grace and provision in the Bible, as well as a practical solution to water scarcity in ancient societies. The lessons learned from cisterns can be applied to our lives today, reminding us to rely on God for our spiritual needs and take responsibility for our natural resources. By learning from the past and applying these lessons to the present, we can build a more sustainable and just world for future generations.

The Cistern Definition Bible: A Unique Perspective

The Cistern Definition Bible

The Cistern Definition Bible is a unique translation of the Bible that takes a more literal approach to its interpretation. It uses the word cistern in place of many different words used in other translations, such as well, fountain, and spring. This choice of wording is meant to convey a sense of stored water, emphasizing the importance of preserving resources.

Pros of Using the Cistern Definition Bible

1. Enhanced Understanding of Water as a Metaphor: The use of the word cistern helps readers better understand the biblical metaphor of water as a symbol of life and salvation. By emphasizing the importance of storing water, the Cistern Definition Bible highlights the need to preserve life-giving resources.2. Increased Attention to Context: Because the Cistern Definition Bible uses a more literal approach to translation, it forces readers to pay closer attention to the context surrounding each use of the word cistern. This can lead to a deeper understanding of the text as a whole.3. Unique Perspective: The Cistern Definition Bible offers a unique perspective on the Bible, one that is not found in other translations. Its focus on water preservation is particularly relevant today, as water scarcity becomes an increasingly pressing issue.

Cons of Using the Cistern Definition Bible

1. Limited Vocabulary: The use of the word cistern in place of so many other words can become repetitive and limit the vocabulary available to writers and speakers who rely on the Bible for inspiration.2. Challenging Read: The Cistern Definition Bible's literal approach to translation can make it challenging to read and understand. Some readers may find it difficult to follow the text without the aid of other translations or commentaries.3. Limited Availability: The Cistern Definition Bible is not widely available, which can make it difficult for readers to access and use in their studies.Table Information:| Keywords | Definition || --- | --- || Cistern | A container used for storing water || Metaphor | A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable || Preservation | The act of keeping something in its original state or in good condition || Context | The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood || Vocabulary | The body of words used in a particular language or group of languages |

Closing Message for Visitors: Understanding the Significance of Cisterns in the Bible

As we come to the end of this blog post, I hope that you have gained a deeper understanding of the importance of cisterns in the Bible. From being used as a source of water to symbolizing spiritual emptiness, cisterns hold a significant place in the biblical narrative.

It is fascinating to see how the concept of cisterns has evolved throughout history and has been used in different contexts. The physical structure of a cistern is just one aspect of its significance, and it is the symbolism behind it that truly captures the essence of its meaning.

As we delve deeper into the biblical text, we realize that cisterns are not just a metaphor for spiritual emptiness, but also a symbol of hope and redemption. In Jeremiah 2:13, the Lord tells his people that they have forsaken him, the fountain of living water, and have dug for themselves broken cisterns that can hold no water. However, in Jeremiah 31:12, we see the Lord promising to provide abundance of water to his people, turning their mourning into joy and filling their empty cisterns.

It is through these passages and the many others like them that we come to understand the true significance of cisterns in the Bible. It is a reminder to us that when we stray from God, we are left with nothing but brokenness and emptiness. But if we turn back to him, he will fill us with his abundance and give us new life.

As we reflect on the importance of cisterns in the Bible, let us also think about how it applies to our lives today. Are there broken cisterns in your life that you need to let go of? Are you in need of God's living water to fill the emptiness within you?

Let us take a moment to pray and ask God to help us identify our broken cisterns and to fill us with his love and grace. May we be reminded that just as a cistern holds water, God holds us in his loving arms and will never let us go.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I hope that it has been insightful and helpful in your journey of faith. May you continue to seek God and his truth, and may he bless you abundantly.

People Also Ask About Cistern Definition Bible

What is a cistern in the Bible?

A cistern in the Bible is a large container used for storing water. It is often dug into the ground or built with stones and cement, and it can hold rainwater or water that has been transported from a nearby well or spring.

How is a cistern different from a well?

A cistern is different from a well because it is a closed container that holds water, while a well is an opening in the ground that taps into a water source such as an aquifer or underground stream. A well provides a constant supply of fresh water, while a cistern must be refilled periodically.

Why were cisterns important in Biblical times?

Cisterns were important in Biblical times because they provided a reliable source of water in regions where water was scarce. They allowed people to store water during the rainy season and use it throughout the year, especially during times of drought or when access to other sources of water was limited.

What do cisterns symbolize in the Bible?

In the Bible, cisterns symbolize both physical and spiritual thirst. They are often used as metaphors for the human soul and its need for God's living water. Additionally, cisterns can represent false hopes or idols that ultimately fail to provide true satisfaction and fulfillment.

What are some examples of cisterns in the Bible?

Some examples of cisterns in the Bible include:

  • The cistern where Joseph's brothers threw him into before selling him into slavery (Genesis 37:24)
  • The broken cisterns that Jeremiah uses as a metaphor for Israel's spiritual adultery (Jeremiah 2:13)
  • The cistern that King David hid in while fleeing from his son Absalom (2 Samuel 17:18-21)