Paul Tillich (Christian existentialist theologian, 1948) writing as WWII ended, writing about this very passage said:
“There was a time when we could listen to such words without much feeling and without understanding. There were decades and even centuries when we did not take them seriously. Those days are gone. Today we must take them seriously…” Interpreter’s Bible, 5, 839.
“Gilead was a region which lay on the prophet’s eastern horizon. It was over Gilead that the sun rose every morning to illumine little Anathoth and big Jerusalem. It was the land which symbolized hope. In Gilead grew the herbs and trees and flowers from which balsams were made to supply the physicians of that Eastern world. Is there no balm even in Gilead? Is there no physician, no prophet, no priest, no healer, no teacher who can cure a sick heart? And the answer is “No.” There is no remedy on earth for a heart which is desperately sick.” Charles E. Jefferson, Cardinal Ideas of Jeremiah, 1928, 141.
Irenaeus, who died in 202 A.D., was a follower of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John the Baptist. Irenaeus wrote this about men and the Potter, who he calls an ‘Artist’:
“If thou art the work of God, await the hand of thy Maker (Artist)…Keep thy heart soft and pliable for Him; retain the form in which the Artist fashioned thee, having moisture in thyself, lest, becoming hard, thou shouldst lose the marks of His fingers. [And if you become hard], thou has also lost His art and thy life.” Interpreter’s Bible, 5,962.
“The sins which man commits – those are not his great crime. Temptation is powerful and his strength is slight! The great crime of man is that he can turn at every moment, and does not do so.” Martin Buber, quoting Rabbi Bunham, Tales of the Hasidm, II, 257.
18:14 “Will the snow cease to fall on the rocky slopes of Lebanon?
Will the cool rain streaming in torrents ever fail?
No, but my people have forgotten me.”
(Translation from The New English Bible)
“It is now claimed that the artist deliberately left them incomplete to represent this eternal struggle of human beings to free themselves from their material trappings.” from Accademia.org, Accademia Gallery in Florence.
God can’t work with dirt that is like cement
“Desperate tides of the whole great world’s anguish
Forced thro’ the channels of a single heart” –
Saint Paul, a poem by FWH Myers, on Jeremiah
“Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?” Jeremiah 18:14