Before he became Israel’s King, David was a loyal servant of King Saul and a close friend of Saul’s son, Jonathan. But Saul’s impetuous jealousies made him see treachery at every turn, just when Israel needed unity against the invading Philistines. David was another kind of leader entirely — as this little tale shows.
DAVID’s attempts at reconciliation with Saul, the King of Israel, had failed – if only they could have drawn swords together against the Philistines! – and though he had parted in affectionate comradeship from Jonathan, the king’s son, David would never see him again.
Now, hunted like a bird by Saul and hemmed in by the Philistine army camped out in Bethlehem, he was hiding in caves in hard hills near the pastures where once he had been a shepherd boy.
‘Oh, for the water of the well of Bethlehem’ he sighed, remembering, ‘which is by the gate!’ Without a word, three loyal companions slipped like shadows through the enemy camp to the well, drew water, and carried it back to their captain.
But David could not bring himself to drink it. ‘Is this not the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives?’ he said, deeply moved; and he poured the water out upon the ground, in sacrifice to the God of Israel.