If you overheard someone singing: ‘Lord, give me also springs of water (x3) that I might overflow,’ you would be puzzled to know what the also meant – in addition to what else?
We used to sing this chorus in the classic style of con brio and even con gusto at our convention camps in those heady days of the 1970s when many of us young evangelical theorists were newly doused in the Holy Spirit. Our songs were excitingly naïve, lacking today’s sophisticated texture; and the full orchestration at our first summer convention was a mere solo 12-string guitar. Our style of musical praise and prayer was never to hell in a handcart, but more like to heaven in a farm cart – one of which formed the rear of our primitive platform!
That new song was based on the request of Caleb’s daughter. Just prior to her marriage, Achsah asked her father to improve on his wedding gift of a plot of sun-baked land of the Negev in the Sinai Peninsula (see Joshua 15:13-19; Judges 1:11-15). She began her request:
‘Give me a blessing,’ (Judges 1:15a).
Let’s be honest, for most of us blessing seems ethereal and vague, a mere goodwill attitude with perhaps a gesture such as the laying on of hands, or a handshake thrown in. But Achsah was more like the hungry man begging in the street who had asked the passing priest, ‘Father, could you spare me a couple of pound?’ (to refresh his beer-parched throat, no doubt). When told, ‘No, I won’t even give you twenty pence, but if you would kneel here I will give you my blessing,’ replied: ‘No thank you, Father, if your blessing’s not worth 20p I’d rather go without!’
Of course, Achsah too wanted something substantial and of practical use:
‘“Give me also springs of water.” And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs’ (Judges 1:15b).
Nor was the link of our heartfelt prayer, so passionately sung, with Achsah’s request to her earthly father for natural water so far-fetched, because her husband Othniel came good as Israel’s first judge at a time of major national backsliding after the deaths of Joshua and Achsah’s father Caleb (see Judges 3:7-11). Othniel was anointed for the daunting task with The One symbolised by those springs in the desert:
‘The Spirit of the Lord was upon him’ (Judges 3:10).
This enabled him to wage successful warfare on their foes and then to judge Israel for a whole generation of social and spiritual welfare – (shalom, Judges 3:11).
We would do well to pray that prayer daily, don’t you agree?