And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” 1 Chronicles 11:17 (NKJV)
1 Chronicles is an unusual place to begin the Christmas story, yet here we are for that “Little Town of Bethlehem” of which the carolers sing is found in this Scripture. David and his army had just conquered and reclaimed Jerusalem, but the Philistines still occupied Bethlehem. David was yearning with a wistful longing for a drink from the well by the gate of Bethlehem. How did David know such a well was there? He lived there! His family, all the way back to his great-great-grandfather Boaz lived there (Ruth 2:4). When David was young, he watched his father’s sheep in Bethlehem and it was there that Samuel had anointed David as king (1 Samuel 16:1). No wonder David was sentimental about the well. Some of his men overheard his desire, risked their lives, broke into the enemy camp, and returned with the water. Now we think David would have taken a big drink and passed it around to share with his warriors. But what he did instead surprises us… he poured it out on the ground!
So the three broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless David would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord. 1 Chronicles 11:18 (NKJV)
This well was located by the same Bethlehem of which the prophet Micah foretold (Micah 5:2) and of which Luke spoke in the famous Christmas story (Luke 2:4-5), the birthplace of our Savior. This year, when you hear and read these passages, do more than nod the head, enjoying the familiar words washing over you in a sentimental way. Put yourself in that time in history and experience this real place called Bethlehem, a real town first mentioned in our Bibles in Genesis 35:19. There, Jacob’s beloved wife Rachel was buried after dying from the birth of Benjamin. Do you think Mary, in her very pregnant state, thought of Rachel while enduring the trip to Bethlehem, perhaps wondering if the same fate was in store for her?
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. Luke 2:4-5 (NKJV)
Ponder that poor young couple, Joseph and pregnant Mary, on their journey to Bethlehem, awaiting the arrival of Jesus, the Savior of the all who will believe in His name. Think of that long, tedious trek (have you ever ridden a horse or bicycle when very pregnant and the baby’s head already wants to push its way out? Very painful indeed! Even walking can bring on labor). Mary’s distress and extended belly foretell of our pregnant world, swollen with plagues and sin and despair, painfully riding our donkeys from day to day, waiting, watching, longing, desiring, yearning, hastening, welcoming the triumphant return of our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” John 7:42 (NKJV)
Now, Jesus is that Well of Bethlehem and His water is sweeter than that for which David longed. His water is purer, cleaner and greater than anything this world can offer. Come ye, O come ye, my dear TEA CUPP ladies, to Bethlehem. Drink of Jesus’ water and pour it out for others. Like the shepherds, Come to Bethlehem and see, Him whose birth the angels sing. Come adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord, the new born King*.
Oh, holy Child of Bethlehem! Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin, and enter in; Be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel. (Phillips Brooks, 1868)
Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13 (NKJV)
Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Luke 1-2 this week. We who have tasted the Well of Bethlehem, the Living Water, are called to pour it out for others before the Lord. Pour out your heart to Him in prayer for the lost. Pour out your testimony and love of Jesus to those you see each day. And, if God is calling you, answer His call to missions, pouring out your life for Jesus, hearing the cries of the thirsty around the world who are calling, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem.”
…Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” John 4:7 (NKJV)
And all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:4 (NKJV)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6 (NKJV)
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory. Psalm 63:1-2 (NKJV)
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38 (NKJV)
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.” Micah 5:2 (NKJV)
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” Luke 2:15 (NKJV)
O come ye to Bethlehem**
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982
*Hymn: Angels We Have Heard on High, verse 3, traditional French carol.
**Latin hymn O Come, All Ye Faithful, sung by Hillsong, John F. Wade, 1751