Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
Water is universally needed. All living things depend upon it in one form or another. In times of great thirst or deprivation, men will do almost anything for a drink of water. Sometimes however, our thirst for water is dictated by our wishes and not our needs. Today’s devotional has to do with David, the second king of Israel and his wish regarding water from a special source.
“David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. And David said with longing, ‘Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!’ So the three broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless David would not drink it, but poured it out to the LORD. And he said, ‘Far be it from me, O my God, that I should do this! Shall I drink the blood of these men who have put their lives in jeopardy? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.’ Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men.” (1 Chronicles 11.16-19).
Although the specific details of the event (above) recorded in 1 Chronicles 11 are sketchy, there is enough detail to discover some great lessons from the text. Our focus will be on the details we do have and the lessons that we can draw from them. First, note that David was a mighty warrior. His reputation had been established of old, going all the way back to his boyhood when he slew Goliath with his sling. Secondly, notice that he had mighty warriors at his command. That is who the “mighty men” were that are referenced in the focus text. Today we might refer to them as Special Forces or a similar name, but it is clear that they were the best of the best among Israel’s military men. Thirdly, notice that David was a man who was reverenced by those who served under him. Perhaps this respect was because of his prowess as a warrior, or maybe it was due to his down to earth character. Perhaps it was due to his ability to always get the things done that were needed. What ever the reason or reasons, there were men in waiting who would have given their proverbial right arm to be David’s protector.
Now comes the fly in the ointment. Almost on a whim, David verbally expressed his desire to drink water from the well in Bethlehem. However, there was a huge problem; the Philistine army had control of the area as well as the territory between David’s forces and the well. It was totally out of reason to think that such a wish could or should be granted. Yet, the can-do attitude of three of David’s mighty men pushed reason aside and compelled them to forge ahead with a plan to fulfill the wishes of their commander. Hazarding their own lives as well as potentially having to slay those of enemy ranks, they secured the delicacy which David wanted and brought it back to him to drink. Upon receiving the water, David’s right thinking came back to him; it wasn’t water that he needed; it was merely water that he craved from the particular well. The lives of his men as well as the lives of his enemies were hardly worth sacrificing simply to satisfy his capricious longing!
All peoples in places of authority should learn some valuable lessons from these events. First, remember that there is always someone who will attempt to execute your wishes regardless of how foolish those wishes might be; be cautious about the object of your wishes. Secondly, the price that is paid for what we desire is sometimes simply too high a price to pay – period! All too often pride establishes the maximum price that one is willing to pay rather than common sense and reason. Waste is still waste, even if pride is salvaged!
1. What do you know about David’s mighty men? If interested, research this topic.
2. What do you think motivated David to express his wish for water from the well at Bethlehem?
3. What do you think motivated the three men to execute their danger-filled mission and secure the water even as David had wished?
4. When David had the water in hand, describe the emotions that he may have felt? How much courage did it take for him to pour the water “out to the Lord”? When David refused to drink the water, describe the possible thoughts of the men who had hazarded their lives to retrieve the water for him.
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