Summary: How does our leadership affect those who follow us? What can we learn from David about leadership?


By Pr. Paddick Van Zyl

Aug 2014

Tested by Water


A lecturer, when explaining stress management to a class, raised a glass of water and asked, "how heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it."

"If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. "In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on." "As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the demands of life."

(The original source of this story is unknown to us,

but its message resonates with many.)*

I am sure you would agree that king David had a lot of stress in his life. With the amount of battles, wars and men he had to lead, he had quite a lot on his plate. Yet he managed to handle all of this and still be a good leader, because he knew his God, he was anointed for the task of leadership. Our text is taken from a short portion of Scripture found in 2 Samuel 23, when David, encamped against the Philistine army, found himself in a cave.


2 Samuel 23:13-17Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

13 Once during harvest time David was at the cave of Adullam, and three of the Thirty Heroes went down to meet him there. At the same time the Philistine army was camped in the Valley of Rephaim.

14 Another time David was in the fortress, and a group of Philistines soldiers was stationed in Bethlehem.

15 David was thirsty for some water from his hometown, so he said, “Oh, if only I could have some water from that well by the gate in Bethlehem.”

16 So the Three Heroes fought their way through the Philistine army and got some water from the well near the city gate in Bethlehem. They took it to David, but he refused to drink it. He poured it on the ground as an offering to the LORD.

17 David said, “LORD, I cannot drink this water. It would be like drinking the blood of the men who risked their lives for me.” This is why David refused to drink the water. The Three Heroes did many brave things like that.

2 Samuel 23:13-17Expanded Bible (EXB)

15 David had a •strong desire for some water [L craving; longing]. He said, “•Oh, I wish [If only] someone would get me water from the well near the city gate of Bethlehem!” 16 So the three warriors broke through the Philistine •army [lines; camp] and •took [drew] water from the well near the city gate of Bethlehem. Then they brought it to David, but he refused to drink it. He poured it out before [C as an offering to] the LORD, 17 saying, “•May the LORD keep me from drinking this water [L The LORD forbid that I should do this]! It would be like drinking the blood of the men who risked their lives!” So David refused to drink it. •

2 Samuel 23:13-17The Message (MSG)

13-17 One day during harvest, the Three parted from the Thirty and joined David at the Cave of Adullam. A squad of Philistines had set up camp in the Valley of Rephaim. While David was holed up in the Cave, the Philistines had their base camp in Bethlehem. David had a sudden craving and said, “Would I ever like a drink of water from the well at the gate of Bethlehem!” So the Three penetrated the Philistine lines, drew water from the well at the gate of Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But David wouldn’t drink it; he poured it out as an offering to GOD, saying, “There is no way, GOD, that I’ll drink this! This isn’t mere water, it’s their life-blood—they risked their very lives to bring it!” So David refused to drink it.


David longs for some water from his hometown, Bethlehem, and he speaks his wish out aloud. He probably whispered it aloud. How many times have we not done the same thing. Just thinking aloud about something that is near and dear to us.

The amazing thing in this episode in the cave is that his 3 mighty warriors that were probably always close to him for protection, heard this. And to them it was not mere wishful thinking. It was a desire, a longing uttered by their leader. The next thing we see: they act on this ‘dream’ or ‘vision’ of David.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion