The general meaning of these two parables is clear enough, but sometimes those irritating little considerations about the stories and images Jesus uses to get His teaching across keep those parables alive and working in our minds and thus slowly releasing the deeper and simple truth at their center. This slow release lets the true message sink into us more deeply and have a greater effect on who we are and what we do.
Jeremiah, for his part, mixes his figures in a way that is hard for a modern Western mind to follow exactly, but again the meaning is clear. At first the word of God was a joy and a happiness to the prophet, but as he took that word seriously it turned bitter and apparently sterile in him: God, the source of life, was a brook who treacherously dried up on him. He has come to complain to God that what was once his life and his treasure is now a source of reproach among his people.
God's response, though, is that if Jeremiah turns to Him even in these difficulties, if he is willing to pass through this purifying fire, God will make him His herald and will be an unbeatable defense for him as Jeremiah bears His word and witnesses to God's holiness.
And us? Where is our treasure, and to what extent are we willing to go to possess it? And when we have it, are we willing to suffer to keep it, to witness to its value, and to let it transform our lives?
Just how serious are we about seeking Christ and making Him our own (and becoming His)? And as for the demands and pain of growth in Him...?
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