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. — Jeremiah 17:13
In the weeks leading up to the High Holy Days, the Jewish people focus on Scriptures from the Torah that provide hope and inspiration as they prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is one of 12 devotions on the hope we have as people of faith. To learn more about the High Holy Days, download our complimentary devotional guide.
Ronald Reagan once said, “We are never defeated unless we give up on God.” I might add that we are never completed unless we give up on everything else. Sometimes it takes a desperate situation to help us realize our true rock and foundation.
Our verses today come from the book of Jeremiah, just before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, marking the beginning of exile for the Jewish people. Jeremiah was the prophet who carried the burden of warning the people about the impending disaster. For much of Chapter 17, Jeremiah described the tragedy that was about to befall them. Yet, his message was not all doom and gloom. At the end there was a beacon of light, a ray of hope.
The prophet said, “LORD, you are the hope of Israel.” Interestingly, the Hebrew word for hope used in this verse is mikveh. The word mikveh is also the name of the ritual bath that was used during Temple times to purify the priests and is still used today in the Jewish tradition. By Jewish law, any natural body of water is a mikveh. Since it is filled with waters that come directly from the source of creation, its waters have the power to purify, heal, and restore.
Any manmade mikveh has strict laws which include a minimum amount of rainwater so that it, too, is connected to a natural source of water. When a person immerses in a mikveh, their entire being is enveloped like a baby in a womb. In that womb of water, connected to God, the Source of creation, a person is transformed. When a person emerges from a mikveh, they are changed, purified, restored, and reborn.
Hope has the same effect on us. We can believe in God all we want, but it’s not until we have nothing else to lean on that we truly experience what it is like to put our hope solely in God. When we surround ourselves with hope in God and realize deep down that He alone is the source of salvation, healing, and blessings, our souls are purified. Our minds are clarified. We are changed for the better, transformed into faithful believers. We are reborn.
Friends, when you seem to be in a hopeless situation, let your faith in the Lord surround you like the waters of a mikveh. All things are possible with God. Immerse yourself in hope; bathe in your faith, and you will see His salvation.