Sunday Sermon: ‘A Cup of Cold Water’ (I WILL series #1)



Today we begin a new series of studies entitled, “I WILL – 9 Traits of an Outwardly Focused Christian.” What does it mean to be an outwardly focused Christian? Starting today we’re going to seek to learn the answer to that question.

The title of today’s message is – “A Cup of Cool Water.” Jesus said, “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink, because ye are Christ’s, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Mark 9:41 author’s translation) Even a cup of cool water, if given in the name of Jesus, is of great value in the kingdom of God.

Turn with me if you will to the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel.

2 Samuel 23:8 These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. 9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the A-ho-hite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: 10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil. 11 And after him was Sham-mah the son of Agee the Har-a-rite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. 12 But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory. 

13 And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim. 14 And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. 15 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate! 16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David…

…nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD. 17 And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.

I. David’s Desire for a Drink

A. The Longing

David probably wasn’t even thinking when he said, “Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” Though the Bible doesn’t tell us when this event occurred, it was most likely during the time before David became the king of Israel and he was hiding in the wilderness from King Saul. Saul became jealous of David because of his grown popularity with the people and as self-centered people often do, Saul did all he could to take David’s life. Verse 13 says that David was living in a cave in a region known as Adullam.

Verse 13 also tells us that it was during harvest time which meant that there was probably very little, if any rain. Davdi’s tired, homesick, and thirsty. During a moment of weariness he thought out loud and said – “I sure wish I had a drink of water from the well back home.” 

B. The Loyalty

What David didn’t realize was that some of his men were listening and sometime during the night they took off to Bethlehem to fetch David that cup of cool water. From Adullam to Bethlehem was a thirty mile round trip. Added to the challenge was the fact that the Philistines were currently in control of the well! But this didn’t stop these three mighty men. They were powerful warriors and without letting David know what they were doing, they took off to get their leader that drink of water.

C. The Libation  (the Drink Offering)

As I read the story I wonder what David’s face looked like when they presented him with the water. I’m sure that he was stunned. But rather than gulp the water down as they expected, he poured it out on the ground. Why did David do this? Was he crazy? Was he ungrateful? David was overwhelmed. What David did wasn’t wasting the water; it was worshiping with the water.

Among the many sacrifices and offerings the Jews made, one was known as the ‘Drink Offering.’ The Drink Offering involved the pouring of wine upon a sacrifice as it was being offered up to God. The Drink Offering symbolized at least two things:

– The devotion of the one offering the sacrifice

– The joy they received in honoring God

1. David’s Drink Offering

David saw more than just a cup of water from the well at Bethlehem. He saw the sacrifice that these men had made by risking their lives just for him. Rather than drinking the water for himself, he poured it out before the Lord and said – “Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives?” In other words, “How could I drink this when only God is worthy of such a sacrifice?”

2. Paul’s Drink Offering

The Apostle Paul understood the meaning behind the Drink Offering and he referred to it twice in his writings.

a. In His Letter to Timothy

Near the end of his life Paul wrote about the Drink Offering again. “I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is at hand…”  [2]  Do you get the picture? Paul has suffered much in order to preach the gospel. Life has been hard for Paul and yet he rejoices. “My life is being poured out before the Lord like a Drink Offering, but it’s OK. I rejoice in this opportunity to sacrificially serve Him.’ 

b. In His Letter to the Philippians

“I am being poured out like a drink offering, yet I am glad and rejoice.” [1] Paul was in prison when he wrote this. Any normal thinking person might have been whining about their misfortune, yet Paul was worshiping. “My life is being poured out like a drink offering before God, yet I  rejoice in the fact that I have the opportunity to make such a personal sacrifice for my Savior.”

3. The Lord’s Drink Offering

But there’s an even greater Drink Offering found in scripture. Just a few hours before His crucifixion Jesus said, “This cup new testament in my blood – shed for you.” [3] The word ‘shed’ means more than a trickle of blood. It refers to something that is being poured out lavishly or in a large amount. Many believe that Christ was thinking about His life being poured as a Drink Offering when He said this. Concerning our Lord’s sacrifice, the psalmist prophesied – “I am poured out like water,and all my bones are out of joint.” (Psalm 22:14) The blood of Jesus was poured out like a Drink Offering before His Father; yet Jesus said – “… it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28) Dear friend, Jesus willing gave His life for your sins. He willingly shed His blood so that you and I might be forgiven.

4. Our Drink Offering

The Jews of the Old Testament offered up Drink Offerings. So did David, Paul and even our Savior. My question to each of us this morning is – “Are we willing to deny ourselves in order to bring glory to our Savior? Are we willing to have our lives poured out before the Lord as a Drink Offering?” Most likely none of us are going to have to die; however, each of us will have multiple opportunities every day to do as David did and to deny ourselves in order to bring God glory.

II. I WILL – Becoming an Outwardly Focused Christian 

What is an ‘outwardly focused Christian?’ Perhaps to understand that we need to first take a moment and consider what is an ‘inwardly focused Christian.’

Matthew 20:20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.

Not long before this Jesus had stated that when He sat on His throne in glory, His disciples would sit on twelve thrones and judge the nation of Israel. [4] Therefore the mother of James and John was only asking for what she thought Jesus had promised. Yet she upped it a notch. “Grant that my two sons may sit on your right and left hand.” In other words, “May my two boys have the top spots?” 

22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?  

What was the cup Jesus would drink of? It would be the bitter cup of death. The baptism no doubt was an allusion to His sufferings and rejection.

…They say unto him, We are able. 23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup,    and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. 

Someone will sit there, but only the Father will be able to decide who it should be.

24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.

The word ‘indignation’ means to be extremely upset. They were offended by what James and John had requested. Most likely they were so upset because they wanted this privilege for themselves.

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

A. Inwardly Focused Christian 

To be an inwardly focused person means that our primary concern is ourselves and what we think we deserve. “I want; I think; I like; I deserve” are some of the ways inwardly focused people often express themselves. “I-I-I; me-me-me”

Recently I heard that one of the primary objectives of preschool for children is begin teaching them how to stand in line and how to share. Why do we have to teach that to children? Because we’re all naturally selfish and self-centered.

B. Outwardly Focused Christian 

To be an inwardly focused person is to think primarily about ourselves. To be an outwardly focused Christian means to think of others, and of God.

To be outwardly focused is to think the way our Savior thinks. Paul refers to this in Philippians 2 as the ‘mind of Christ.’ Jesus performed a physical demonstration of what it means to deny self when He laid aside His robe washed His disciples’ feet.(see John 13)


Throughout life the Lord gives us thousands of opportunities to be an outwardly focused Christian. Almost daily we find ourselves in situations where we have to decided – ‘Am I going to focus on myself and my pleasures, or am I going to deny myself and serve others?’ Husbands and wives get to make this important decision. Parents and children get to make this important decision. Siblings living in the same household get to make this important decision. Some of you get to make this decision at work, while others of you get to make it at school. God is even going to give us the opportunity to make it here in church.

My prayer is that as we carefully consider what it means to be an outwardly focused Christian, we will respond to our many opportunities by saying – “I will deny myself and put others first.”


[1] Php 2:17

[2] 2 Tim 4:6

[3] Luke 22:20

[4] Matthew 19:27-30

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