Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Going for the Oreos

The art of making a homemade pie crust is slowly dying out. Probably the main reason is convenience. You can buy a ready-made pie crust in the refrigerated section. All you have to do is unfold it, lay it in a pie pan, and bake. Easy shmeasy. Even easier: buy the pie already made! But purists like me turn our noses up at commercially made pies and pie crusts. I had the good fortune of growing up with a mom who was quite a baker and who made wonderful pies. So I made it my business to learn how to make a good pie crust from her before leaving the nest.

While my husband appreciates the rare art of making a homemade crust, my children were not always so discerning in their taste of baked goods. One day I offered my son a piece of fresh, warm apple pie. He asked, “Could I get some Oreos instead?” Are you kidding me? Dry, stamped out Oreos instead of warm, homemade apple pie? Who would choose that? Apparently, my children.

We shake our heads at the limited tastes of a child. Israel had the same kind of problem. They had chosen the lesser, the inferior, to what God had offered them. “My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

Water was an important commodity for those who lived on the edge of the desert. Its availability meant the difference between life and death. Roof tops were fashioned to catch what little rain fell. The collected water was stored in a cistern. There the water would sit, and without chemicals to treat it, it soon became stagnant and cloudy. The people were familiar with the difference between a fresh, clear, cold drink of water and a dirty, stagnant drink from a cistern. So this was a perfect metaphor for God to use to show the people what they were missing out on.

God had offered them a life filled with blessing and peace. The Creator of the universe was interested in sharing an intimate relationship with His people. Yet Israel had turned away from all He wanted to give them. Instead, they worshipped hand-hewn idols and listened to false prophets who told them what they wanted to hear. They went for the Oreos every time. They traded in a fresh, cold, crystal clear fountain for water from a broken, ill-kempt cistern.

We, too, pass on the best thing, and on a regular basis. How often do we turn away from doing the right thing because it doesn’t fit our agenda? We want what we want. And so we trade the tremendous blessing of walking in step with the Lord for a dry Oreo and a drink of dirty water. Once in a while, we make the right choice. And as we gulp the cold, clear liquid down, it fills our soul with a thirst quenching satisfaction. And we wonder that we would make any other choice.

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