Water that's more than water
At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!”
- 2 Samuel 23:14-15
What did this water mean to David?
Maybe he felt thirsty. Wells proved much harder to dig in ancient Israel than they are today and, as a result, would have been valuable and rare. David may not have had access to clean drinking water in his cave stronghold.
But perhaps there’s something more to it. David would have carried memories of running to the well near the gate of Bethlehem. Perhaps he would have helped his great grandmother Ruth gather water from that well when he was a child. Maybe he watered his sheep at this well in his youth. Maybe he took his kids to the well when he visited his family homestead and needed to get them out of the house for an hour.
The well would have carried memories and would have been a meaningful reminder of better, happier, more peaceful times. Seeing the well under the control of the Philistines would have been an unpleasant reminder that all was not well with the world.
Food and water are almost always more than food and water. They carry significant meaning. This is one of the reasons hospitality is so important, why birthday cake feels special, and why we care whether or not kids are fed. Food and water can communicate that someone cares about you, that we live in a world filled with abundance, and that the Lord is watching out for you.
Take a few moments to reflect on some of your special memories around food and water. When has someone used food and water to show you that you matter? When have you attempted to do this for someone else? What associations do you have with food and drink and God?