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The Drought

14 This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought.

Judah mourns.
Her city gates fall apart.
They mourn for the land,
and a cry of grief rises from Jerusalem.
The strong send the weak to get water.
They go to the cisterns but find no water.
They return with empty containers.
Ashamed and humiliated, they cover their heads.
The ground is cracked,
because there has been no rain in the land.
The farmers are distressed.
They cover their heads.
Even the doe in the field gives birth
and then abandons the fawn,
because there is no grass.
Wild donkeys stand on the barren heights.
They pant for air like jackals.
Their eyes grow dim,
because there are no plants to eat.

Jeremiah’s Prayers and the Lord’s Answers

    Do something, Lord, for the sake of your name,
    even though our guilt testifies against us.
    We have rebelled many times,
    and we have sinned against you.
    You are Israel’s hope,
    its Savior in times of trouble.
    Why are you like a stranger in the land,
    like a traveler who stays only for the night?
    Why are you like a man taken by surprise,
    like a strong warrior who cannot save?
    You are among us, Lord,
    and we are called by your name.
    Do not forsake us!

10 This is what the Lord says concerning this people.

    They love to wander!
    They never restrain their feet.
    So the Lord does not accept them.
    Instead, he will remember their guilt
    and punish their sins.

11 The Lord told me, “Do not pray for the well-being of these people. 12 Even if they fast, I will not listen to their cries for help. Even if they sacrifice burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will finish them off with sword, famine, and plague.”

13 Then I said, “But, Lord God, the prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see sword or famine. I will give you lasting peace in this place.’”

14 Then the Lord said this to me:

Those prophets are prophesying lies in my name, but I did not send them. I did not command them, and I did not speak to them. They are prophesying a false vision to you and providing worthless omens—something from their own imagination. 15 Therefore, this is what the Lord says about the prophets who prophesy lies in my name. I did not send them. They say that there will be no sword or famine in this land, but by sword and famine those prophets will die. 16 The people to whom they are prophesying will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of famine and the sword. No one will bury them—them, their wives, their sons, or their daughters. I will pour out on them the destruction that they deserve.

17 You, Jeremiah, are to say this to them:

Let my eyes overflow with tears,
without stopping night or day,
because the virgin daughter of my people has been severely injured.
It is a very serious wound.
18 If I go out to the field,
I see those who have been run through by the sword.
If go into the city,
I see those diseased by famine.
Both prophet and priest have gone to a land they do not know.

The People’s Prayer

19 Lord, have you completely rejected Judah?
Do you despise Zion?
Why have you afflicted us,
so that we cannot be healed?
We looked for health,
but nothing good came.
We hoped for healing,
but there was only terror.
20 We acknowledge our wickedness
and the guilt of our fathers.
We have sinned against you.
21 For your name’s sake, do not despise us.
Do not dishonor your glorious throne.
Remember your covenant with us,
and do not break it.
22 Do the worthless idols of the nations send rain?
Do the skies provide the torrential showers?
Is it not rather you, who are the Lord our God?
Our hope is in you,
because you are the one who does all these things.

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