Scripture:  Psalm 42: “As a hart pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (vss. 1, 2  
   Thirst For God  
Dehydration is not a pleasant experience for the body to undergo. Loss of fluids in the system triggers a survival reaction; we become thirsty, very, very thirsty. The body clamors for water, for restoration of the delicate balance that nature intended for proper functioning of life.
    It is one thing to simply become thirsty, knowing that a supply of cooling, refreshing water is near at hand, and accessible. I can only imagine the longing, the panic that develops, when that survival urge kicks in, knowing not where water is to be found. Cartoonists often draw a picture of some bedraggled soul, crawling across the desert sands, often past the bones of some long departed, unfortunate creature, while the unforgiving sun boils down. Dry, very dry, and no relief in sight.
    Oh, they may include a mirage, that image of a lake or well, off in the distance. Unobtainable, unreachable, but a vision of salvation, of a reality that does exist somewhere. Such is the image of the hart (deer) that I see in the Psalm 42:1.
    We need to think beyond thirsty. The hart “pants” for water. Breathing comes in gasps, but sucking in the dry air only exacerbates the thirst. The search for water becomes frantic; the longing and the finding both unquenchable.
    Thirsty? Sure, go get something to drink. Chances  are,  if  you  are  reading  this,  you  are  near a source of refreshment. What a relief! Think of those times when you want to savor each and every drop, to roll it around on your tongue, to rejoice in the very feel of the cup  or glass in your hand. How unlike the panic of an unrewarded longing for life-giving water is the ultimate reassurance that water is available, and in plenteous supply. May you ever find it so.
    I have heard a story told of a ship, becalmed for many days, surrounded by water, undrinkable, salty sea water. The crew had exhausted their supply of drinkable water. They became every bit as thirsty as a man crawling across the desert.  Drifting off the coast of South America, they spotted a ship in the distance. Oh! How they longed to catch up to that ship, to acquire that one thing they so desperately needed, but did not have. Coming into hailing distance, they called out for water. Back came the response, “Let down your buckets.”
“What!” they cried out. What fate was this, that fellow sailors could be so cruel.
“Let down your buckets,” again came the shout. “You are sailing in the Amazon river. You are surrounded by fresh water.”
    How often we sail the oceans and deserts of  life, bereft of the life-giving, thirst quenching “water of life,”  knowing not that we are surrounded by a vast river of God’s saving grace. We cry out, “My soul pants for you, O God.” The desert sands  of neglect and the mirages we chase of “the good life” lead to separation from the very thing that would sustain us.  With the psalmist, we thirst for God, for the living God. “When can we go and meet with God, “ we moan. Jesus calls to us, ”Let down your buckets, and I will give you living water.”
(See John 4:13)
    There is an oasis in the middle of the desert of life, a source of love. Rejoin the multitude,  the procession to the house of God, “with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.” (Ps. 42:4) With the psalmist let us proclaim, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my savior and my God.  (Ps. 42:11)

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