2 Samuel 23:15-17

     The best tasting water from a water fountain I have ever tasted is from the water fountain at the building where the Bay church of Christ meets. It has a powerful stream that satisfies in quantity, it has a cool temperature that satisfies in the way it feels, and it has a sweet taste that satisfies in that way as well. I can imagine, as the seasons progress, walking down Central Avenue as the July sun beats down, longing for a sip of that cool and refreshing water. I shall be longing for a sip of that sweet water from that fountain in the nursery at the church building in Bay. I might even tell my walking companion about that water. Having fond memories of wells, streams, or fountains from which one drank as a child is not uncommon. David was in a similar, but much more dire, state of thirst.

David’s thirst came during a time of war. David would have been hot, dirty, and drinking tepid water in rationed amounts. It is during one of these times he would have reflected to happier and easier times and say, “oh that one would give me a drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate (2 Sam. 23:15). Its not just that David fondly recalled and then desired a cup of that water, Scripture says, “and David longed.” He strongly desired, craved, wished for, friends, he desired a cup of this sweet cool water from the very depths of his soul. Now, he could have commanded his subordinates to go get some of that water. He could have demanded some of that water. He did not. There was no command issued, no imperative that could be taken to mean that one must travel to bethlehem and traverse much danger in order to cary out the king’s request. David just wanted some water from the well with which he was familiar and brought fond memories of bygone days.

David’s longing, being vocal, fell on the ears of men who loved him. There were three (2 Sam. 23:16). One of these mighty men’s name is lost to time, but, the other two are mentioned elsewhere (1 Chr. 11:20-25). We can learn some lessons from these might men.

As mighty as these men were, they had the desire to serve. Servitude was not beneath them. Many, in today’s time, consider themselves too preeminent to “roll up their sleeves.” We must always have the mind of Christ in us and esteem other above self (Phi. 2:3,5). As mighty as these men were, they put the desires of their king above their own desires, needs, and even safety. Can we cary out our Majesty’s wishes with such fervor and selflessness? They were faithful to their lord, the king, the anointed of God. They did not count the cost of service. The simple whim of their king elicited in them a desire of obedience that was greater than their desire to live.

A cup of water seems such a small thing, perhaps too small. Surely some other person besides these mighty men should be tasked with such a menial and common task. Not so was the attitude of these mighty men. We should be so willing to jump in and do the will of our King. Too often we have the attitude of Naaman who had to be convinced to simply “wash and be clean (2 Kings 5:13).” For these mighty men, the wish and whim of their master was enough to set them to task. I pray for such fidelity in the kingdom, today.

We can also learn from David in this passage of Scripture. For one, David had the respect of his men and was, in his own right, a mighty man (1 Sam. 16:18). One does not incite such devotion by being a weak leader nor a despot. We need more leaders like David. Time would fail me to tell of the times David took the high road and followed God and would not harm God’s anointed, Saul, even though Saul was trying to kill him (1 Sam. 24-28). Also,David had mercy on Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, Saul’s grandson (2 Sam. 9:6-7; 21:7). Friends, David was a man many, including this writer, would do well to emulate as such emulation would coincide with emulation of Christ.

Most needful of pointing out, though, would be David’s attitude toward the action and gift of the mighty men. We read that the gift, brought by great effort on the part of the mighty men, was not received by David (2 Sam. 23:17). These men made a sacrifice of their lives to David (2 Sam. 23:18). Notice that David compared the blood (life) of the mighty men to the water in the cup (v 18). These men, in a figure, offered their lives carrying out the will of David the same way Abraham sacrificed Isaac in a figure (cf Heb. 11:17-19). Abraham received Isaac back from the dead figuratively because he was committed to the task of shedding his blood. These men offered their lives to David in that they were committed to the task of doing the king’s will. So, David offered that to the Lord. David knew he was not worthy to receive these mighty men’s sacrifice. They had become living sacrifices and David was not worthy to receive such.

Friends, we are told to become living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1). Our lives are not our own. Can we serve like these mighty men? Can we inspire others to serve as did David. If men pay homage to us can we direct that homage to its rightful object? I pray this has been helpful to you and pleasing to the Lord. May be ever be MIGHTY in the Lord’s service.

Tony Brewer