As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. — Psalm 42:1
It was not so long ago that I remember being outside on a hot day. As soon as we got into a cooler place, my son immediately started to beg for water. It was not just a mention of wanting water, but nearly every other word he said was about water. I jokingly asked him the question, “are you thirsty?” I remember opening the bottle of water for him and he drank nearly the entire bottle in just a few seconds. He was not kidding, he was thirsty!
As I read the verse here in Psalm, I often read through it but don’t really give a lot of thought to the gravity of the situation. The psalmist writes about how just as the deer panteth after the water so does his heart pant for God. Sure that means a desire for God and the things of God, but how strong of a desire?
The word that translates panteth is the same word that translated “cry” in Joel 1:20 where he talks of the beasts crying from the field for water. In that verse, the Bible reads that all the water has dried up. It was a desert, a place where there was no hope for the quenching of the thirst and so the beasts cried out for water. It’s a cry for intervention. A cry of one who knows that apart from an intervention they will most certainly perish. He shares here in Psalm 42 from the perspective of a deer. One that is gentle and delicate. It’s an animal that can easily be overcome because of its nature. So it’s an animal easily overcome that has an intense desire.
When all of that is put into perspective, it’s easy to see just how great of a desire this is for God. The psalmist knew that he was susceptible to things around him. He knew that apart from God, he would never survive. It was a thirst that could only be satisfied by God.
Do we have that type of desire for God? Do we realize that apart from God, we would never survive? , We should want Him more than anything else in this world. Are you thirsty?