As Water Spilt Upon the Ground
2 Samuel 14:14
For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither does God respect any person…

Water is a gift of God, very precious, especially in lands where it is scarce, and often longed for as a means of quenching thirst, renewing strength, and preserving life (2 Samuel 23:15; Psalm 63:1). But it may be thrown away, poured out and lost, by design or accident, through the overturning or fracture of the vessel in which it is contained. Human life, also, is a Divine gift, precious beyond all earthly possessions. But it is contained in "a body of fragile clay" 2 Corinthians 4:7), which is sooner or later destroyed like "the pitcher shattered at the well" Ecclesiastes 12:6); and thus "we are as water," etc. We have here -


1. It must take place in all, without exception. "It is appointed," etc. (Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12; Hebrews 9:27).

2. It may occur to each of us at any moment (1 Samuel 10:3).

3. It puts an end to the useful service which might have been rendered. Only while the water remains in the vessel can it be of immediate use.

4. It cannot by any possibility be repaired, or "gathered up again." "As the waters fail from the sea," etc. (Job 14:11; Job 7:10); "as waters melt away," etc. (Psalm 58:7; Psalm 39:13; Psalm 49:7-10; Psalm 103:16). "Death is of all things the most terrible, for it is the end" (Aristotle).

"What is your life? 'Tis a delicate shell,
Cast up by Eternity's flow;
On Time's bank of quicksand to dwell,
A moment its loveliness show.

Returned to its element grand
Is the billow that brought it on shore;
See, another is washing the strand,
And the beautiful shell is no more."


1. Restrain immoderate indulgence in sorrow, "the grief that saps the mind, for those on earth we see no more." No weeping, anger, nor endeavour can bring back Amnon (2 Samuel 12:23). Accept calmly what cannot be altered.

2. Repress improper feelings of resentment toward others. Even though it he just, it should not be perpetual (Ephesians 4:26). They and you alike must die and pass away. "Be reconciled."

3. Regard all around you with sympathy and kindly affection. Before tomorrow they may be gone.

4. Redeem the rest of your time "in the flesh," by prompt, diligent, zealous use of every opportunity of serving God and doing good, according to the pattern of long suffering and benevolence which he has set before you, in "not taking away a soul," etc. (latter part of the verse). Consider:

1. The death of the body is not the end of the man. He disappears here only to appear elsewhere as water in the cloud; gathered "with sinners" (Psalm 26:9; Matthew 13:30) or with saints (Genesis 25:8; 2 Kings 22:20; 2 Thessalonians 2:1).

2. The life which a man leads "in the body" determines his condition in the unseen and eternal world.

3. The conviction of these things makes the view of death more impressive, and should make the course of life more just, merciful, and devout. - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.

WEB: For we must die, and are as water split on the ground, which can't be gathered up again; neither does God take away life, but devises means, that he who is banished not be an outcast from him.

Remembrance of God
Top of Page
Top of Page