Before Saul became corrupted by power and blinded by jealousy as the first king of Israel, he was just a good-hearted guy concerned about finding his father’s lost donkeys. While searching for them, the servant who was with Saul suggested that they go to a town and find a man of God who could tell them where they could find the donkeys. This man of God – also called a seer or prophet in those days – was none other than Samuel, a man who was highly respected and whose words always came true.
As Saul and his servant were going up the hill to the town, they met some young maidens who were coming out of the town to draw water. Drawing water was a common job for women to do in Old Testament and New Testament Bible times. Saul and his servant asked the young maidens, “Is the seer here?”
The chatty young maidens wasted no time in answering. They knew exactly who the seer was and where he was and what he was doing. 1 Samuel 9:12 says that they answered, “He is. He’s ahead of you. Hurry now; he has just come to our town today, for the people have a sacrifice at the high place. As soon as you enter the town, you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people will not begin eating until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward, those who are invited will eat. Go up now; you should find him about this time.”
Whew! For just asking a simple four-word question, Saul and his servant had a boatload of information dropped on them. But the young maidens’ answer certainly helped them find Samuel which then led to Samuel anointing Saul as king and the rest, as they say, is history.
1. The young maidens stopped to answer a question. There are several ways that the young maidens could have responded to Saul and his servant’s question. If the young maidens were in a hurry to draw water, they could have waved them off. Or, since Saul and his servant were strangers to them, the young maidens could have ignored them. Or, considering the fact that Saul and his servant had been searching on foot for the donkeys and were probably dusty and dirty and tired, the young maidens could have turned up their noses at their appearance. But the young maidens did no such thing. They paused on their way to draw water to answer a question about a seer. They had no way of knowing that they were talking to the future king of Israel.
And we have no way of knowing who we are talking to when take time out of our busy schedules to give someone directions, to answer a stranger’s question, or to help a person find something they are looking for. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” The strangers whom we pass by and have minimal interactions with everyday may appear as regular, insignificant human beings, but we have no way of knowing what heights God will raise them up to in the future. Therefore, we ought to treat everyone with kindness and respect.
2. The young maidens gave accurate information. Regarding the exchange between Saul and his servant and the young maidens, Herbert Lockyer writes, “Little did those girls know of the momentous consequences of their information about the whereabouts of Samuel. Often the most insignificant details have their share in great events.” How true. Yes, how true. Words and actions that are often regarded as inconsequential often have a great impact on consequential happenings.
If the young maidens had given Saul and his servant the wrong information regarding Samuel’s whereabouts, the “chance” encounter between prophet and future king would not have happened at that time. Sure, because God is in control of everything, He would have brought about another way for Saul and Samuel to meet. But Samuel, who had been told by God that He would send a man from the land of Benjamin to him, would have been left hanging. And Saul’s anointing would have been delayed.
It has been said that information is power. When we are asked a question, we should make sure we have accurate information to give. And if we do not have accurate information, we should direct the questioner to someone who does.