"As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs for you, O God." Psalm 42:1
I came out of Sunday School yesterday morning and I was so thirsty! I tried to recall if I had ever seen a water fountain in our church and could not remember there being one. I thought to myself "Wonder if there is a coke machine around?" Then about the time that thought crossed my mind, another intersected it. "Oh yeah...I didn't bring my purse in with me. Hence...no money". It was raining (Thank you Lord!) as we came into church that morning and I was trying to maneuver my way inside carrying a 16 month old, a diaper bag, my Bible and an umbrella!!! There was no room for a purse!!
But...now I was thirsty and no money and no water fountain. I walked past the refreshment zone where bottles of icy frappucino were nestled in beds of ice. There were also nice cold bottles of water....but, alas....all for a price. So I just kept walking, my mouth growing drier with ever step I took. Then I spotted it....just up ahead...could it be? Yes! It was...a WATER FOUNTAIN!!!
Now I don't particularly like water fountains. They are usually a pain...the water just barely clears the spout and half the time it is lukewarm. But I had to try. I made my way to the fountain and pressed the button. The clear water streamed up in a nice arc that I could easily reach. As my lips felt the water, I was delighted to find that it was icy cold!! Aaaahhhh...what refreshment!
I am not often thirsty. Hungry, always. Thirsty, rarely. But, when I am, it is as if nothing else occupies my mind except getting that need fulfilled.
The psalmist wrote that his soul longed for God as the deer longs for water. Now being the wife of a deer hunter, I must tell you that in all my years of observing deer, of all the photos we have of deer, I have never seen one "pant" for water as dogs do. But I know that they do require a lot of water. So I guess they do "thirst" and I believe that is what the psalmist was alluding to...that the deer longs for water.
Do we long for God like that? Do we ever get really thirsty for Him? I think we do when our lives become dry and parched. I think that much like I do with water, we just sort of take for granted that He is always there. We go about our lives taking a "sip" of Him every now and then, but never really taking in as much as we need.
We are supposed to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day....64 oz. I confess, I rarely do. Yet I am told that water is essential for our bodies to function properly. It hydrates our skin and our hair. It flushes out our system, ridding it of harmful toxins and fats that we do not need. It keeps things in our body running more smoothly. It fills us up so we are less likely to overeat. Even though I KNOW all of that, I still fail to do it like I should. But, let it be a hot day and I am working in the yard, and my thirst will begin to get my attention. Pretty soon, I am searching for something icy cold to drink. Usually it will be a Coke....not water. But the funny thing is, as good as it tastes going down, it does not really quench my thirst. Nothing, in fact, will quench that thirst like water. And the more I drink, the more I want. Even long after I've come inside and cooled off, had dinner and gotten in the bed, I'm still craving water! Why? A need has been created.... a need that only water can satisfy.
You've heard the old saying "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink"? Well, I had a Bible study leader who used to say "Sure you can...IF you salt his oats!" I think sometimes God "salts our oats"by putting us into situations that causes us to thirst for Him. We try all sorts of things to quench that thirst, but nothing but God Himself will do it. When we begin to thirst for Him, He will give us "living water" that will quench that longing like nothing else can do.
If we would only learn to drink from His fountain daily, we would not find ourselves becoming parched and dry in our lives. Today may our prayer be "Fill my cup, Lord. I lift it up Lord. Come and quench this thirsting of my soul. Bread of Heaven, feed me til I want no more. Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole."
19 hours ago