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Broken Cisterns: Thirsting for the Creator Instead of the Created (Ivill)

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Reformation Heritage Books
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Today many of us are figuratively drinking from broken cisterns that hold no water. Rather than finding satisfaction in God, the Fountain of living waters, we seek to satisfy ourselves with the broken cisterns of this world, and we remain discontented.

In Broken Cisterns, Sarah Ivill exposes these broken cisterns—addictions to things like social media, physical appearance, shopping, sex, and others. She helps us understand why we are drawn to these things and how dangerous it is to seek contentment in them. Using Scripture, she also gently and practically leads us to the Fountain of living waters, who will transform our hearts and eternally satisfy our thirst.

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Table of Contents:

Part One: Broken Cisterns Lead To…

1. An Imperfect World

2. Disorder, Discontentment, and Death  

3. Impure Passions and Incorrect doctrine

4. Enslavement and Infinite Consequences

Part Two: The Fountain of Living Waters Has…

5. Clean water

6. Living water

7. Nourishing water

Part Three: We Respond By…

8. Loving and Enjoying God

9. Trusting and Obeying God



Sarah Ivill (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) is a Reformed author, wife, stay-at-home mom, Bible study teacher, and conference speaker who lives in Matthews, North Carolina, and is a member of Christ Covenant Church (PCA).



“In Broken Cisterns, Sarah Ivill shares from what she has taught many times to groups of women. But that teaching and these pages represent more than the fruit of faithful Bible study. They also clearly draw from much personal experience in seeking to turn away from broken cisterns to the living waters found only in Jesus Christ and walking with other women seeking to do the same. The result is a valuable guide for women experiencing spiritual thirst in today’s world that is honest, hopeful, biblical, and practical. It will be a helpful resource not only for personal study but also for use in discipleship relationships, women’s small groups, or wherever women are seeking to learn and grow together in Christ.” — Dave Baxter, pastor of congregational life, Christ Covenant Church, Matthews, North Carolina

“Pleasure, success, reputation—they never deliver the satisfaction they promise. That’s because God has designed us for something infinitely better—abundant life in His Son. Ivill illuminates what tempts us to wallow in broken cisterns and then shows us biblically and practically how to avoid those pitfalls and live life to the full in Christ our Savior. A terrific read for individuals and book groups!” — Lydia Brownback, author, Flourish Bible Study series

“We are all looking to have our hearts filled, but often we drink from the sludgy water of broken cisterns instead of from clear, clean springs. Sarah Ivill writes Broken Cisterns with insight into the Scriptures and women’s hearts. You will see the mud of your heart on the pages of this book, but even more you will see the Living Waters that can make you clean and quench your thirst eternally. With questions to help you examine your life, Broken Cisterns is ideal for reading and discussing with a friend.” — Keri Folmar, author of The Good Portion: Scripture and the Delighting in the Word Bible Study series.

“We all have thirsty hearts and seek to quench that thirst through the murky, stagnant cisterns of this world. But Jesus offers more. He offers the living water that truly satisfies. In Broken Cisterns, Sarah Ivill helps us see how our hearts are prone to wander, prone to fill our thirst with shallow counterfeits. She then points us to Christ, who meets all the longings of our hearts. For all those who thirst, Broken Cisterns will lead you to the well that never runs dry.” — Christina Fox, counselor, writer, speaker, and author of several books, including Idols of a Mother’s Heart.

“‘How does Sarah know me so well?’ This is the question I kept asking as I read Broken Cisterns. Sarah understands me and my heart. Many people write about problems, but not everyone has the insight into how to apply the Word to solutions on growing and changing. Sarah does. Sarah pulled me into the great love story of the Bible. She is concrete and never left me wondering about how to live out a deeper, more trusting love for God. Her questions at the end of each chapter are an added plus for personal and group study.” — Helen Holbrook, children’s director, Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church (PCA)

“God has truly gifted Sarah Ivill to reach deep into the hearts of women. Sarah meets us where we are—in our brokenness, drinking from broken cisterns—and takes us on a journey to find springs of living water. I hope many women will take the opportunity to read her book and learn from it, as I have.” — Jeany Jun, New Life Presbyterian Church of Orange County