The Great Cistern

Cistern in rural Haiti

Cistern in rural Haiti

So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.   When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, “He is ill.”   Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, “Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him.” But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats’ hair.   Saul said to Michal, “Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?” Michal told him, “He said to me, ‘Let me get away. Why should I kill you?’ ”   When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. Word came to Saul: “David is in Naioth at Ramah”; so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came on Saul’s men, and they also prophesied. Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied. Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Seku. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” “Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said.   So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” – 1 Samuel 19:7, 14-24

This is an interesting passage.  Saul is in pursuit of Samuel and David and comes face to face with the Spirit of God.  Saul sends men to pursue Samuel and David and they end up prophesying and eventually Saul does too.  God seems to be showing up in a big way trying to convince Saul to change course.  Unfortunately God is unsuccessful.

Water in this passage comes in the form of a common water collection device called a cistern.  Cisterns are used to catch and store rainwater — a human invention used to capture and store the natural rains provided by God.   David goes to the place of a large cistern, the great cistern at Seku.

Cisterns are something that most people in the United States have not experienced. They were used on the great plains and in the desert southwest, but other water sources have replaced them in most areas.  In Haiti cisterns are used at some houses to obtain clean water that has not been tainted by human or animal waste.  They can provide some of the cleanest and safest water around if they are protected and isolated from sources of contamination.

I expect the cisterns in middle east were quite valuable and protected places.  The water that a cistern collects could have meant the difference between life and death for people of the desert.  I bet these large cisterns were closely guarded places.  If they were to become contaminated it would have meant illness and possible death for those who relied upon it for water.

It is intriguing that David and Samuel choose a great cistern to evade and hide from Saul.  In a sense they have been relying on God, the greatest cistern of all, for many years.  God has been the source of living water for both Samuel and David for most of their lives, but Saul is unwilling to access this source of water and life.  He has instead attempted to go it alone and rely upon his own resources to be successful.

There is a lesson here for all those who seek to know and love God.  We need to be willing to access the “cistern” which is God.  He stands ready to provide living water for all those who hunger and thirst for the living water he offers.

Prayer: Thank You God that you are the greatest cistern of all…providing living water for all who are willing to take it.

This entry was posted in 1 Samuel, Faith, Following God, Obedience, Trusting God and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Great Cistern

  1. Tangela M Davis says:

    Very unbiased and clear description and explanation of Cisterne at Secu. Thank you.


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