It was a typical Tuesday evening after work. Rushing through the buzz of my day and anticipating a nightly run, I was eager to hear my feet pounding the treadmill like the rain outside my window. Twenty minutes in, however, I was parched with a thirst so deep, my bones began to cry out. Slowly recovering from the monthly allergies and a lovely sore throat, I made my way off the treadmill and sprinted to my glorious water bottle. Guzzling down the entire 24 liters, I was shocked to find that not only was my thirst more prominent, but the dryness in my throat still lingered.
David, a man after God’s own heart, could easily relate to this situation. In 2 Samuel 23, David reflects some of his last words and most distinguished supporting warriors throughout his humble entry as a king, to his sinful downfall and restoration. Though his compelling story takes us from a small boy with three stones and a sling to a vicious ruler, eager to kill a man who’s wife he slept with, David knew what it was like to hunger and thirst. To desire and crave for something he thought would satisfy, but only left him dry and bare instead.
“And David said longingly, “Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the Lord” (2 Samuel 23:15-16, ESV).
After confessing his sins and being rescued from a famine (2 Samuel 21), David is delivered by no other than the Almighty God (2 Samuel 22). Accordingly, here in chapter 23, David humbles himself before the Lord, thanking Him for the help of his warriors and victories. Striking his hand upon the Philistines now eager for battle, David begins to feel very much like how I felt on the treadmill. He grows weary and longs for a drink from the well of Bethlehem, searching for anything to quench that desire.
Thinking back to his childhood, I can see David running to this well time and time again. I envision him seeking it out to get water for his sheep and then cupping some in his hands to satisfy the pinings after his battle with Goliath. His shaking and exhausted frame now pleas for a drink from this well, but not for the reason you might think.
Racing to his side, I perceive David’s three greatest warriors are ushering him to drink of this well-water he longed for, and they risked their lives to get.
“King David, we got you the water,” they exclaim. “Just like when you were a child,” they smile sheepishly.
“I’m not going to drink it,” his bitter words break their glowing hearts. “It belongs as an offering to the true King of this victory,” their questioning hearts finally understand.
And perhaps, we too, in our physical thirst, can learn a lesson from David in his quest for spiritual fulfillment. That, although, yes, we may desire a drink to satisfy our sore throats, and a cold bottle of water after a run tastes like the best thing in the world. However, that isn’t what will eternally fill our appetite.
For when it all comes to an end, what are you thirsting and searching to find?
“Find me in the River
Find me on my knees
I’ve walked against the water
Now I’m waiting if you please
We’ve longed to see the roses
But never felt the thorns
And bought our pretty crowns
But never paid the price
Find me in the River
Find me there
Find me on my knees with my soul laid bare
Even though you’re gone
And I’m cracked and dry
Find me in the River
I’m waiting here” (Find Me In The River, Delirious).
Maybe our thirst is only extinguished when we wait in the very place we wish to be fulfilled.
Find me in the River Lord, even when I’m cracked and dry. Let me be like David, pouring out all I am (sins included) as I wait for you here.
Find me in the River.
I’m waiting for you here.