Day 237 – Water from the Temple

Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read how Jeremiah compares Israel to a potter’s clay, which can be reworked into anything the potter chooses. God is the potter and he can shape us into the future he wills for us. There is also plotting against Jeremiah by those who trusted in the falsehoods they have heard from their leaders and false prophets. Jeremiah is angry with the people for plotting against him.

God tells Jeremiah to buy a potter’s flask and take some of the elders with him to the valley of Hinnom where the children have been sacrificed. There he will shatter the potter’s flask as an image of what will happen to the people when Babylon conqures them. Jeremiah does not revel in his prophecy of the coming destruction but this is simply a consequence of the people’s actions.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Jeremiah 18

1 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh as follows,

2 ‘Get up and make your way down to the potter’s house, and there I shall tell you what I have to say.’

3 So I went down to the potter’s house; and there he was, working at the wheel.

4 But the vessel he was making came out wrong, as may happen with clay when a potter is at work. So he began again and shaped it into another vessel, as he thought fit.

5 Then the word of Yahweh came to me as follows,

6 ‘House of Israel, can I not do to you what this potter does? Yahweh demands. Yes, like clay in the potter’s hand, so you are in mine, House of Israel.

7 Sometimes I announce that I shall uproot, break down and destroy a certain nation or kingdom,

8 but should the nation I have threatened abandon its wickedness, I then change my mind about the disaster which I had intended to inflict on it.

9 Sometimes I announce that I shall build up and plant a certain nation or kingdom,

10 but should that nation do what displeases me and refuse to listen to my voice, I then change my mind about the good which I was intending to confer on it.

11 So now, say this to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Yahweh says this: Listen, I am preparing a disaster for you, I am working out a plan against you. So now, each one of you, turn back from your evil ways, amend your conduct and actions.”

12 They, however, will say, “It is no use! We shall follow our own plans; each of us will act on his own wicked inclinations.” ‘

13 Therefore, Yahweh says this, ‘Ask, please, among the nations if anyone has heard anything like this. The Virgin of Israel has done a very horrible thing.

14 Does the snow of Lebanon ever leave the rocks of its slopes? Do the rivers of foreign lands, their cold flowing waters, ever run dry?

15 And yet my people have forgotten me! They burn incense to a Nothing! They have been made to stumble in their ways, the ancient paths, to walk in paths, on an unmade road,

16 to make their country an object of horror, everlastingly derided: every passer-by will be appalled at it and shake his head.

17 Like the east wind, I shall scatter them before the enemy. I shall show them my back, not my face, the day they are ruined.’

18 ‘Come on,’ they said, ‘let us concoct a plot against Jeremiah, for the Law will not perish for lack of priests, nor advice for lack of wise men, nor the word for lack of prophets. Come on, let us slander him and pay no attention to anything he says.’

19 Pay attention to me, Yahweh, hear what my adversaries are saying.

20 Should evil be returned for good? Now they are digging a pit for me. Remember how I pleaded before you and spoke good of them, to turn your retribution away from them.

21 So, hand their sons over to famine, abandon them to the edge of the sword. Let their wives become childless and widowed. Let their husbands die of plague, their young men be cut down by the sword in battle.

22 Let cries re-echo from their houses as you bring raiders suddenly on them. For they have dug a pit to catch me, they have laid snares to trap my feet.

23 But you, Yahweh, know all about their murderous plot against me. Do not forgive their guilt, do not efface their sin from your sight. Let them be hurled down before you, deal with them while you are angry!

Jeremiah 19

1 Then Yahweh said to Jeremiah, ‘Go and buy a potter’s earthenware jug. Take some of the people’s elders and some of the senior priests with you.

2 Go out towards the Valley of Ben-Hinnom, just outside the Gate of the Potsherds. There proclaim the words I shall say to you.

3 You must say, “Kings of Judah, inhabitants of Jerusalem! Listen to the word of Yahweh! Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: I am about to bring such a disaster on this place that the ears of every one who hears of it will ring.

4 For they have abandoned me and have made this place unrecognisable, and offered incense here to other gods which neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew before. They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent;

5 for they have built high places for Baal to burn their sons as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing I never ordered, never mentioned, that had never entered my thoughts.

6 So now the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when people will no longer call this place Topheth, or Valley of Ben-Hinnom, but Valley of Slaughter.

7 Because of this place, I shall empty Judah and Jerusalem of sound advice; I shall make them fall by the sword before their enemies, by the hand of those determined to kill them; I shall give their corpses as food to the birds of the sky and the animals of earth.

8 And I shall make this city an object of horror and derision; every passer-by will be appalled at it and whistle at the sight of all the wounds it has sustained.

9 I shall make them eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters: they will eat one another during the siege, in the shortage to which their enemies, and those determined to kill them, will reduce them.”

10 ‘You must break this jug in front of the men who are with you,

11 and say to them, “Yahweh Sabaoth says this: I am going to break this people and this city just as one breaks a potter’s pot, so that it can never be mended again. “Topheth will become a burial ground, for lack of other burial space.

12 That is how I shall treat this place, Yahweh declares, and its inhabitants, by making this city like Topheth.

13 The houses of Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah, all the houses on the roofs of which they offered incense to the whole array of heaven and poured libations to other gods, will be unclean, like this place Topheth.” ‘

14 Jeremiah then came back from Topheth where Yahweh had sent him to prophesy, and stood in the court of the Temple of Yahweh and said to all the people,

15 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this, “Yes, on this city, and on all the towns belonging to it, I shall bring all the disaster which I had decreed for it, since they have stubbornly refused to listen to my words.” ‘

Ezekiel 47

1 He brought me back to the entrance of the Temple, where a stream flowed eastwards from under the Temple threshold, for the Templefaced east. The water flowed from under the right side of the Temple, south of the altar.

2 He took me out by the north gate and led me right round outside as far as the outer east gate where the water flowed out on the right-hand side.

3 The man went off to the east holding his measuring line and measured off a thousand cubits; he then made me wade across the stream; the water reached my ankles.

4 He measured off another thousand and made me wade across the stream again; the water reached my knees. He measured off another thousand and made me wade across the stream again; the water reached my waist.

5 He measured off another thousand; it was now a river which I could not cross; the stream had swollen and was now deep water, a river impossible to cross.

6 He then said, ‘Do you see, son of man?’ He then took me and brought me back to the bank on the river.

7 Now, when I reached it, I saw an enormous number of trees on each bank of the river.

8 He said, ‘This water flows east down to the Arabah and to the sea; and flowing into the sea it makes its waters wholesome.

9 Wherever the river flows, all living creatures teeming in it will live. Fish will be very plentiful, for wherever the water goes it brings health, and life teems wherever the river flows.

10 There will be fishermen on its banks. Fishing nets will be spread from En-Gedi to En-Eglaim. The species of fish will be the same as the fish of the Great Sea.

11 The marshes and lagoons, however, will not become wholesome, but will remain salt.

12 Along the river, on either bank, will grow every kind of fruit tree with leaves that never wither and fruit that never fails; they will bear new fruit every month, because this water comes from the sanctuary. And their fruit will be good to eat and the leaves medicinal.’

13 ‘The Lord Yahweh says this, “This will be the territory which you must distribute among the twelve tribes of Israel, with two portions for Joseph.

14 You will each have a fair share of it, since I swore to your fathers that I would give it to them, and this country now falls to you as your heritage.

15 These will be the frontiers of the country. On the north, from the Great Sea, the road from Hethlon to the Pass of Hamath, Zedad,

16 Berothah, Sibraim lying between the territories of Damascus and Hamath, to Hazer-ha-Tikon on the borders of Hauran;

17 the frontier will extend from the sea to Hazer-Enon, with the territory of Damascus and the territory of Hamath to the north; that will be the northern frontier.

18 On the east, the Jordan will serve as frontier between Hauran and Damascus, between Gilead and Israel, down to the Eastern Sea as far as Tamar; that will be the eastern frontier.

19 On the south, from Tamar southward to the Waters of Meribah in Kadesh, to the Wadi and the Great Sea; that will be the southern frontier.

20 And to the west, the Great Sea will serve as frontier up to the point opposite the Pass of Hamath; that will be the western frontier.

21 You must distribute this country among yourselves, among the tribes of Israel.

22 You must distribute it as a heritage for yourselves and the aliens settled among you who have fathered children among you, since you must treat them as citizens of Israel. They must draw lots for their heritage with you, among the tribes of Israel.

23 You will give the alien his heritage in the tribe where he has settled — declares the Lord Yahweh.” ‘

Ezekiel 48

1 ‘ “This is the list of the tribes. One portion in the far north by way of Hethlon to the Pass of Hamath, to Hazer-Enon, with the territory of Damascus to the north, and marching with Hamath, from the eastern limit to the western limit: Dan.

2 One portion bordering Dan, from the eastern limit to the western limit: Asher.

3 One portion bordering Asher, from the eastern limit to the western limit: Naphtali.

4 One portion bordering Naphtali, from the eastern limit to the western limit: Manasseh.

5 One portion bordering Manasseh, from the eastern limit to the western limit: Ephraim.

6 One portion bordering Ephraim, from the eastern limit to the western limit: Reuben.

7 One portion bordering Reuben, from the eastern limit to the western limit: Judah.

8 One portion bordering Judah, from the eastern limit to the western limit, is the portion which you must set aside, twenty-five thousand cubits wide, and as long as each of the other portions from the eastern limit to the western limit. The sanctuary will be in the centre of it. 

9 “The portion which you must set aside for Yahweh must be twenty-five thousand cubits long and ten thousand cubits wide.

10 This sacred portion must belong to the priests, being, on the north side, twenty-five thousand cubits; on the west side ten thousand cubits wide, on the east side ten thousand cubits wide and on the south side twenty-five thousand cubits long; the sanctuary of Yahweh will be in the centre of it.

11 This will be for the consecrated priests, those of the sons of Zadok who maintained my liturgy and did not go astray with the straying Israelites, as the Levites went astray.

12 And so their portion must be taken out of the especially holy portion of the land, near the territory of the Levites.

13 The territory of the Levites, like the territory of the priests, must be twenty-five thousand cubits long and ten thousand wide — the whole length being twenty-five thousand and the width ten thousand.

14 It will be illegal for them to sell or exchange any part of it, and the domain can never be alienated, since it is consecrated to Yahweh.

15 As regards the remainder, an area of five thousand cubits by twenty-five thousand, this must be for the common use of the city, for houses and pastures. In the middle will be the city.

16 These will be its dimensions: on the north side, four thousand five hundred cubits; on the south side, four thousand five hundred cubits; on the east side, four thousand five hundred cubits; on the west side, four thousand five hundred cubits.

17 The pasture land of the city must extend two hundred and fifty cubits to the north, two hundred and fifty to the south, two hundred and fifty to the east, two hundred and fifty to the west.

18 One strip, contiguous to the sacred portion, must be left over, consisting of ten thousand cubits to eastward and ten thousand to westward, marching with the sacred portion; this will bring in a revenue for feeding the municipal workmen.

19 And the municipal workmen, drawn from all the tribes of Israel, will farm it.

20 The portion must have a total area of twenty-five thousand cubits by twenty-five thousand. You must allocate a square area from the sacred portion to constitute the city.

21 What is left over will be for the prince, on either side of the sacred portion and of the property of the city, marching with the twenty-five thousand cubits to eastward to the eastern frontier, and marching with the twenty-five thousand cubits to westward to the western frontier– running parallel with the other portions and belonging to the prince. In the centre will be the sacred portion and the sanctuary of the Temple.

22 Thus, apart from the property of the Levites and the property of the city which lie in the middle of the prince’s portion, everything between the borders of Judah and the borders of Ben- jamin must belong to the prince.

23 “As regards the rest of the tribes: One portion from the eastern limit to the western limit: Benjamin.

24 One portion bordering Benjamin, from the eastern limit to the western limit: Simeon.

25 One portion bordering Simeon, from the eastern limit to the western limit: Issachar.

26 One portion bordering Issachar, from the eastern limit to the western limit: Zebulun.

27 One portion bordering Zebulun, from the eastern limit to the western limit: Gad.

28 On the southern border of Gad, on the south side, the border will run from Tamar to the Waters of Meribah in Kadesh, to the Wadi and the Great Sea.

29 This is how you must distribute the country to the tribes of Israel as their heritage, and these must be their portions — declares the Lord Yahweh.

30 “Here are the exits from the city. On the north side, four thousand five hundred cubits are to be measured off.

31 The gates of the city are to be named after the tribes of Israel. Three gates to the north: one the gate of Reuben; one the gate of Judah; one the gate of Levi.

32 On the east side, there will be four thousand five hundred cubits and three gates: one the gate of Joseph; one the gate of Benjamin; one the gate of Dan.

33 On the south side, four thousand five hundred cubits are to be measured off, and there are to be three gates: one the gate of Simeon; one the gate of Issachar; one the gate of Zebulun.

34 On the west side, there will be four thousand five hundred cubits and three gates: one the gate of Gad; one the gate of Asher; one the gate of Naphtali.

35 Total perimeter: eighteen thousand cubits. “The name of the city in future must be: Yahweh-is-there.” ‘

Proverbs 15:21-24

21 Folly appeals to someone without sense, a person of understanding goes straight forward.

22 Without deliberation plans come to nothing. Plans succeed where counsellors are many.

23 Anyone who has a ready answer has joy too: how satisfying is the apt reply!

24 For the prudent, the path of life leads upwards thus avoiding Sheol below.

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