Christ is Risen!
We watch this Jeremiah mired down in mud, in cistern,
in fear and hostility
all around him,
finally extricated by watching friends who have done your work.
We watch this Jesus, set deep in the grip of death . . . but not held!
but not held;
held two nights,
but not held;
because the power of death could not hold him.
We know ourselves to be held,
over night, for two nights, too long,
held by fear and anxiety,
held by grudge and resentment,
held by doubt and fatigue,
held by too much stuff,
by all manner of the forces of death.
Held powerless . . but turned toward you.
You in your risenness, make Sundays even for us,
even among us,
no longer held. Amen.
Walter Brueggemann, 1933 -, American Protestant Old Testament theologian
So the officials took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him by ropes into an empty cistern in the prison yard. It belonged to Malkijah, a member of the royal family. There was no water in the cistern, but there was a thick layer of mud at the bottom, and Jeremiah sank down into it.
But Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, an important court official, heard that Jeremiah was in the cistern. At that time the king was holding court at the Benjamin Gate, so Ebed-melech rushed from the palace to speak with him. “My lord the king,” he said, “these men have done a very evil thing in putting Jeremiah the prophet into the cistern. He will soon die of hunger, for almost all the bread in the city is gone.”
So the king told Ebed-melech, “Take thirty of my men with you, and pull Jeremiah out of the cistern before he dies.” So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to a room in the palace beneath the treasury, where he found some old rags and discarded clothing. He carried these to the cistern and lowered them to Jeremiah on a rope. Ebed-melech called down to Jeremiah, “Put these rags under your armpits to protect you from the ropes.” Then when Jeremiah was ready, they pulled him out.