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Pit your cherries and place them in a medium saucepan with the water. Place over medium-low heat and cover. Bring to a boil and cook until the cherries start to soften and release their juices, about 10-15 minutes.
Make a cornstarch slurry: add the cornstarch with an additional 1/4 cup of COLD water to a small bowl and stir with a spoon.
Add the lemon juice if you feel the mixture is too sweet (see note).
Stir the sugar into the cherries, then add the cornstarch slurry. Stir continuously while the mixture thickens, which will happen fast.
Remove the cherries from the heat and place in a bowl or large jar. Cool to room temperature then chill until ready to use. You can also freeze. Will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator