Jeremiah 2:21 says, “Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How then have you turned before Me into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?” (NKJV) In this verse God was speaking through the prophet Jeremiah to expose Israel’s terrible spiritual condition. She is pictured as a VINE, for she was separated from the nations to be a witness to the world of the One true God. Yet instead of BEARING FRUIT for God (by being a faithful testimony) she had become LIKE THE NATIONS; a corrupt and FRUITLESS VINE that worshipped many gods. This departure from God and turning to idols is brought out clearly in earlier verses of this chapter:

“Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying ‘Thus says the LORD: I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holiness to the LORD, the firstfruits of His increase….What injustice have your fathers found in Me, that they have gone far from Me, have followed idols, and have become idolaters….I brought you into a bountiful country, to eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land and made My heritage an abomination’” (verses 1-3, 5, 7).

The prophet Isaiah paints the same picture of Israel in Isaiah 5:1-4: “Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a VINEYARD on a very FRUITFUL hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the CHOICEST VINE. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so He expected it to bring forth GOOD GRAPES, but it brought forth WILD GRAPES. ‘And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, please, between me and My vineyard. What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? When then, when I expected it to bring forth GOOD GRAPES, did it bring forth WILD GRAPES.” How sad! God did everything He could to cause Israel to love Him, to obey Him, and to BEAR FRUIT for Him (by declaring His goodness, holiness and love to the idolatrous nations that surrounded them), yet as we saw in Jeremiah they turned their backs on the One true God and brought forth “wild grapes.”

What was the reason for Israel’s departure from God and her failure to bear fruit for Him? We have already seen why but let’s go back to Jeremiah 2:13 to see the reason brought out in simple words: “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” In a word, Israel had lost sight of God’s goodness and blessings (the fountain of living waters) and tried to replace them with false idols of their own making (broken cisterns). Imagine leaving a cool, refreshing spring of living running water that brought immediate satisfaction for a large pit dug out by human hands (that held rainwater) that was prone to leaking. This is exactly what Israel did; they turned from the true, living God and His perpetual stream of blessings to false gods that catered to their fleshly appetites but left them unsatisfied and thirsting for more. Because they departed from God, they were unable to bear fruit for Him, for He was the One who gave them the grace to be a faithful testimony to the godless nations surrounding them.

In closing, I would encourage you to study John 15:1-8 where believers in Christ are exhorted by the Lord Jesus to BEAR FRUIT for God the Father. You will see that it is absolutely vital that we “abide in Christ” (i.e. remain in fellowship with Him) in order to bear fruit. If we depart from Him, the “fountain of living waters” (see John 7:37-38), we too will be FRUITLESS (see 2nd Peter 1:2-9). But if we keep the eyes of our hearts focused on Him, we will “bear much fruit” (John 15:8).  (415.3)  (DO)