The Philistines and the Israelites were at a standstill in their war, with one army on each side of a pass. Jonathan, King Saul’s son, bravely attacked a Philistine outpost with just his armor bearer and with only one sword between them. This caused a panic in the Philistine camp, allowing the Israelites to rout their enemy.
Saul, in his desire to completely defeat the Philistines, made a hasty rule that none of his men could eat until evening because he wanted them to continue fighting without taking a break. Jonathan was the first to eat, and as punishment, his father sentenced him to die.
Read 1 Samuel 14:24-48. Then answer the questions below.
- What do you think about Saul’s leadership?
- What do you think his men thought about it?
- Can you think of a time when an organization you worked for sacrificed the wellbeing of the staff in order to achieve a goal? What happened?
- Why do you think organizations and leaders sometimes put goals above the wellbeing of their staff?
- What are the consequences of this approach?
- How can we guard against doing this as an organization?
This object lesson teaches that you need the Holy Spirit to minister effectively to others. If you don’t spend time with God each day to get filled with His Spirit, you will eventually run dry and have nothing left to offer anyone else.
- Anyone in Christian ministry
You can choose from the following Scriptures depending on the teaching points that you would like to make about the lesson.
- Judges 16 (Samson’s repeated sins and loss of the Spirit)
- John 7:37-39 (let anyone thirsty come to me…rivers of living water will flow from him)
- Rom 8:5-11 (life through the Spirit)
- Ephesians 5:18-20 (be filled with the Spirit)
- Four large styrofoam cups
- Gallon of water
- Basin to catch the water
- Dry cloth
- Set the basin on a table or other raised service where everyone can see it.
- Gather the other materials on the table to have them ready.
- Practice the script.
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
- “This cup represents you.” (Show one of the cups.)
- “This water represents Living Water which represents the Holy Spirit.” (Show container of water.)
- “To do effective ministry for God, you need to be filled with His Spirit.” (Fill cup with water.)
- “It would be nice if we could just get filled with His Spirit once and stay full all our lives. “
- “Then we would go through life producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22) every day.”
- “But it doesn’t work that way, because God’s Spirit leaks in our lives.”
- “When we sin, His Spirit leaks.” (Poke a hole in the side of the cup with the pencil, and let the water drain into the basin.)
- “The more we sin, the more His Spirit leaks.” (Poke more holes in the side of the cup.)
- “So we need to go back to the Lord every day to patch up our holes through confession, repentance and obedience.” (Use the cloth to dry the outside of the cup and the tape to cover over the holes.)
- “…and to get a fresh filling of His Spirit.” (Pour more water into the cup.)
- “But of course, our flesh battles against His Spirit in us (poke new holes in the cup), so when we sin, we need to return to God, confess, repent and obey so that He can fill us again.” (Repeat the process. This time, let the water overflow the cup, call up a few volunteers and have them use the extra cups to catch as much of the overflow as possible.)
- “As long as we keep coming to the Lord to be filled each day, He will bless us with more of His Spirit than we need, and the overflow will bless those around us.” (Ask your volunteers if they feel blessed. After a moment, stop pouring and poke a new hole in the bottom of the cup.)
- “But if we stop coming to Him daily, our cup will eventually run dry, and we will have nothing worthy to share with others.”
- “We’ll be just like this cup – useless for our purpose.”
- “Because it’s never the container that blesses people; it’s the Living Water inside!” (Thank and dismiss your volunteers.)