I listen to this rather hilarious podcast most mornings while I get ready for work called, The Nateland Podcast. It is a clean show about nothing—they don’t talk politics, or anything controversial. Instead, they debate serious things, like how to pronounce the word “penguin,” all while cracking jokes with historical inaccuracies that will at once make you laugh and cringe at the same time. Seriously, they had me laughing so hard about a sports story one morning that I almost had to pull over while driving to work because I had tears running down my face.
But there is one phrase that has stuck with me. Nate Bargatze, professional comedian and leader of the podcast, once went on a small rant about news and how we never take the time to know the source. His words were in response to some crazy fact from a poll. He kept saying repeatedly, “What’s the source?”
While funny and stubborn, it got me thinking. In life, what is your source of joy, contentment, hope, peace, strength, or even truth? Normally, I say, the Bible … but is it truly my source?
Recently, I came to this realization when faced with a stressful situation. My first reaction was to go to a loved one for advice. Now, while that isn’t a bad option, I didn’t even take the time to go to the Lord.
So, if my knee-jerk reaction is to go to others and not to the Lord, can I really say He is my source?
This morning I was reading in Jeremiah 2, and I was led to some verses.
Yet I planted you a choice vine,
wholly of pure seed.
How then have you turned degenerate
and become a wild vine?
Though you wash yourself with lye
and use much soap,
the stain of your guilt is still before me,
declares the Lord God. -Jeremiah 2:21-22
The Lord is speaking to Jeremiah and telling of the loss of God’s chosen people. They have tuned away from the Lord to worship idols. All throughout this chapter, their many sins are laid bare, and later, the Lord describes their heartbreaking distraction and pursuit of the world.
“As a thief is shamed when caught,
so the house of Israel shall be shamed:
they, their kings, their officials,
their priests, and their prophets,
27 who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
For they have turned their back to me,
and not their face.
But in the time of their trouble they say,
‘Arise and save us!’
28 But where are your gods
that you made for yourself?
Let them arise, if they can save you,
in your time of trouble;
for as many as your cities
are your gods, O Judah. –Jeremiah 2:26-28
Let’s break this down. Here we have a people seeking other idols. A people who have forgotten the Lord. A people who have turned their backs on God only to cry out that they be saved. Sound familiar?
And while I would like to point fingers at the world and say it sounds like them, there are fingers pointing right back at me, saying “This is you too, Meaghan.”
How often have I gone to the world to satisfy some longing? Too often to count, I am a sinner after all, but let’s return to verses 21-22.
Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. – we were meant to be people of purity.
How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine? –sin entered in the Fall and our humanity turns us to the world.
Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me, declares the Lord God – we cannot cleanse ourselves, no matter how hard we try.
But who can? Who is the source?
One of my favorite things in Scripture is how it all points back to Christ. Yes, the Lord planted the Israelites as a vine, but because of humanity they fell.
But there is another Vine.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. –John 15: 1-5
In Christ alone, we become the branches we need to be. In Him alone is there a source of life-giving power and strength to endure this world. In Him alone can we find rest.
So now, facing forward, with eyes set on the Lord, may we hold fast to keeping Him as the One and only focus. That way, when someone asks, “What’s the source?” we can answer, “The One true Vine.”