David's Drink Offering
1 Chronicles 11:17-19
And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate!…

This incident is narrated also in 2 Samuel 23:13-17. The "hold" that is mentioned is probably the frontier fortress of Adullam, on the Philistine border, "which, from its strength and position and the neighbourhood of the caverns, was judged by David to be the best place of defence against the invasions of the Philistines." Robinson says, "There is no well of living water in or near the town of Bethlehem." "There is, however, a cistern of 'deep, clear, cool water,' called by the monks David's well, about three-quarters of a mile to the north of Bethlehem. Possibly the old well has been filled up since the town was supplied with water by the aqueduct." Josephus speaks of the well as being near the gate. David would not drink of the water when it was brought him, for this reason - he looked upon it, not as water, but as blood, seeing that it had been procured at the hazard of men's lives; and, knowing that it was forbidden by the Law to drink blood (Leviticus 17:11, 12), he poured it out upon the ground as a solemn offering unto the Lord, and as a thanksgiving for the preservation of their lives.

I. DAVID'S HOME FEELINGS. In him there was strong family affection. This is seen in his relations with his grown-up sons. There was also strong attachment to his early home, the place of his youthful associations. Strong home feeling is usually found in the inhabitants of hilly and mountainous countries; as may be illustrated from the mal-du-pays, the characteristic sickness of the Swiss when away from their mountains. It does not appear that David did more than give utterance to a suddenly conceived wish. It was an impulsive utterance, which he did not mean should be taken as a command. Herein is given us a lesson on the importance of guarding carefully our speech, watching the door of our lips. He is not wise who utters all he feels. It is a great grace to be enabled to keep silence.

II. THE DEVOTION OF DAVID'S FOLLOWERS. This is one of the most interesting features of the incident. It brings to view the relations between David and his men, and helps us to realize the fascination which David exerted. Some men have this power over their fellows - a gracious power, if they use it to lead their fellow-men to higher and holier things; a fatal power, if they make it the means of dragging others down to their own doom. It may be pointed out that special gifts ensure this kind of leadership. Of these, grace of body, generosity of disposition, a skill of getting on others level, an absence of stir-assertive pride, and a winning geniality of manner, are important. If God gives grace of natural disposition, such as wins for us general favour, let us remember that this brings its holy burden of responsibility.

III. THE PROWESS IN WHICH DEVOTION FOUND EXPRESSION. Estimate it from a military point of view. It could but be regarded as a "foolhardy "enterprise; and yet the very suddenness and dash of it almost guaranteed its success. To gratify a wish these men would imperil their lives.

IV. THE PIOUS ESTIMATE OF THE VALUE OF LIFE. This tended to bind David's followers yet more closely to him. Such considerateness for them showed his loving and thoughtful and pious character. It was worth while serving one who eared for them so tenderly. Compare Wellington's personal interest in his soldiers, and the personal enthusiasm which he created. The sense of the value of human life is the very foundation of social morality, it stays man's hand from being lifted up against his fellow-man. And respect for man's best treasure - his life - finds varied expression in respect for all his other treasures and possessions. We will not injure him, in his life, nor in taking anything that is his. Lead on to show how the value of life is enhanced when we add to it two considerations -

(1) Man's immortality;

(2) man's salvation, through a sacrifice of infinite value. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate!

WEB: David longed, and said, "Oh that one would give me water to drink of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!"

The Well of Bethlehem
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