Tears in a Skin Bottle

THE young man was a fugitive. Overwhelmed and distressed, eyes glistening with tears, he called upon the kindness and compassion of his God, Jehovah, begging him: “Do put my tears in your skin bottle.” (Psalm 56:8) That man was David, later to be king of Israel. But what was the skin bottle he referred to, and how can God put our tears in one?

The skin bottle was familiar to David. It was a container used for holding water, oil, wine, or even butter. Nomads of the Sahara, such as the Tuareg, still use skin bottles, made out of the whole skin of a goat or a sheep. Such bottles can hold large quantities of water, depending on the size of the animal. Skin bottles have earned a reputation for keeping water cool, even in the intense heat of the desert sun. In the past, they were generally transported by donkeys or camels. These days, you might even see one attached to the front of an all-terrain vehicle!

David’s touching words about the skin bottle can also have meaning for us. How so? Well, the Bible explains that Satan controls this world and that he has “great anger” in our day. As a result, the earth is experiencing terrible woes. (Revelation 12:12) For that reason, there are many who, like David, are faced with emotional, mental, or physical suffering​—especially those who are trying to please God. Does that describe you? With courage, “even weeping,” such faithful people never stop trying to live a life of integrity. (Psalm 126:6) They can be assured that their heavenly Father sees not only the trials they face but also the emotional impact of those trials. He truly understands the pain afflicting his servants, and he compassionately remembers their tears and sufferings, figuratively storing them up in his skin bottle.