Jeremiah was a reluctant prophet. Today, from the Mt. of Olives, we caught this glimpse of his home town Anatot. I can imagine him growing up, a rambunctious Preacher’s kid, running around and never imagining that God would call him to be a real prophet. But God did just that. He called Jeremiah to be a truth-teller gifted with the power to discern hypocrisy at the highest levels. He empowered Jeremiah to speak the truth — to speak a message that separated him from the power-pleasing court prophets.
God said that if Jeremiah could find just one person in Jerusalem who acts justly and seeks truth that he would spare them all (Jer 5:1).
It is easy for us to think that those were particularly shameful times, that surely someone of such virtue could be found under ordinary circumstances. The closest that any of us can come is to work toward this standard, relying on the help of God and the support of each other. The human power of one is never enough — but we make progress when we work together, when we can be vulnerable and speak the truth about our own shortcomings.
And when one among us has the courage to speak truth to power and then finds himself or herself thrown into a cistern of mud, let’s pray that we don’t simply look the other way. Let’s pray for the courage to lower a rope in the light of day and help our brother or sister out.