They were the “Army Rangers” or “Navy Seals” of their day. They were the elite of the elite. Their chests would be covered with metals if they were in today’s military. Who were they? They were David’s mighty men. There were thirty of them in all, but three of them stood head and shoulder above the rest when it came to their valor and accomplishments. These three men killed hundreds by themselves, they stood and fought when the rest of the army was in full retreat, and they turned the tide and direction of the battle to victory. Their loyalty toward David was without question. They would have died for him at the drop of a hat. You can read about them in II Sam. 23:8-39.
David sat in a cave looking over the valley of Rephaim toward his home town of Bethlehem. The Philistine army was not only in the valley below, they were the occupying forces that now controlled Bethlehem. There was a well by the gate in the city of Bethlehem where David had quenched his thirst often. As his mind wandered back to those days he thinks out loud. “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” Verse 15 NLT. It was not a command, it was just a thought, but to the three mighty men at his side, their King had spoken. And his wish became their command.
These might men of valor marched into the mouth of the Lion and fought across the valley of Rephaim. Blow by blow, step by step until they reached the well by the gate in Bethlehem. As two continue to fight one puts his sword in its sheath, takes the gourd from his side and fills it with water. He then affixes the now full gourd to his side, pulls his sword and joins the battle with the other two. Back across the valley, up the hill to the cave and their they present the gourd of water to their King.
David had watched these events take place. As he looks at the gourd filled with the water he had requested, he turns it over and pours the water out on the ground. “The Lord forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men who risked their lives to bring it to me”. So David did not drink it.” Verse 17 NLT.
It was just H2O, just water. But because of the price that had been paid it became holy water. No longer ordinary, it was holy, set apart unto the Lord.
Each time I read this story I think of the price that was paid for you and me. Paul refers to us as having been bought with a price, I Cor. 6:20. Peter calls that price paid, “precious blood”, I Peter 1:19. To live our lives selfishly would be like David drinking that water. Because of the price paid for us we are no longer our own. We no longer seek to do our will, but the will of the one who paid the price for us.