One of the most vivid metaphors of the scriptures is found in the opening verses of Psalm 42.
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God (vs 1 – 2)?”
I love this imagery. I can picture the thirsty deer having run long and hard through the wilderness coming upon the refreshing waters. We too, in our wilderness existence, face the harrying of life. While maybe not actual predators which need to outrun, or dense thickets which we must navigate to find our sustenance, but the cares and concerns of life often leave us in need of refreshment. The Psalmist paints this as a picture for us as well, as our soul seek out God’s fulfillment of our needs, as the deer finds water.
The Psalm continues with the clear statement that his (and our) soul(s) thirst for God. How well this fits in with Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman at the well,
“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water (from the well) will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water (John 4: 13-15).”
God provides an everlasting water, an ultimate fulfillment in our lives. Jesus further elaborates on this in John 7,
“Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory) [verses 37 -39].”
I pray that I may always have a heart that seeks after God. I hope in His promises to fulfill my needs, and long for His grace to provide. “As the deer pants for the water . . . .”