“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”
Have you truly experienced thirst? – Not just the act of being thirsty. Have you truly experienced a thirst for either physical water or for something else? Personally, I have longed for water when training for marathons and wondering if I would be overcome with dehydration or fatigue; yet, have I ever come face-to-face with extreme thirst to where my life depended upon it? I would venture to say no! I have also demonstrated a thirst in reaching goals in my life especially in the realm of achieving professional degrees and stretching myself in clinical management. However, what about spiritually? What does this look like for you in your spiritual life? I am sure we could all easily give examples of longing for worldly goals but what about spiritual ones?
The Psalmist paints a very beautiful yet somewhat heartbroken picture in these verses and chapter. The Psalmist apparently was exiled among Gentiles who persecuted him for his faith (v3…”while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”) Even more, the Psalmist longed to participate in the pilgrim to Jerusalem where it was time for a festival, just like the ones he used to lead himself as a worship leader; however, he could not go and was heartbroken. This physical separation brings about this very personal Psalm, and we can learn greatly from such insight.
We must all come to this place – the place where life begins when we are WITH God! The Psalmist was reminded of a deer panting and longing for water as one would do during a draught – true despair! The Psalmist knew he could not live a fulfilled life without the one and true God. He longed – thirsted – to go to the temple on this pilgrimage to be with his God in order to be filled! This physical separation resulted in a “spiritual draught” for this writer. He had physical food, shelter, and water. However, only the true experience of being with God could fulfill his needs. Can you say the same?
My dear brothers and sisters – your pilgrimage is here! Your pilgrimage starts NOW! For those who trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, we are no longer separated by a veil. He is not just in the Holy of Holies deep within the temple walls. The God of creation resides within us through the Holy Spirit. I am afraid, however, that many Christian are numb to this power. The same God that the Psalmist thirsted for thousands of years ago is the same God that lives in you and me!
Where is your zeal? Where is your passion dear believer? The same God that the Psalmist cried out in heartache as he could not participate in the pilgrimage back to Jerusalem is the same God who is speaking life to you inside your body, His temple, today! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says,”19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
As you meditate on this passage, ask God freely to develop a thirst within you that can only be quenched by the fulfillment of the Holy Spirit. What is keeping you from starting your pilgrimage today? Praise God that He has provided a way through His Son Jesus Christ to experience this type of longing – thirst – through prayer, Bible study, and listening because He lives in YOU so go ahead and thirst!
Question: What is keeping you from experiencing this type of spiritual thirst?