# 161 A journey through the Psalms. Psalms 42 & 43 Thirsty?

“FARMERS are telling us it’s the worst drought they’ve experienced in their lifetime — and that’s just the start of it. Scientific analysis of Australia’s drought extremes has shown the current crisis is likely to be the worst in 400 years.” (www.news.com.au  Dated 03.07.2018)

Maybe you have never experienced drought conditions like the one Australian farmers have recently, but you may well have experienced them spiritually as described by the psalmist in Psalms 42 when he says:

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?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

The imagery depicts a desperate situation experienced by a deer in a dry land seeking out water in order to satisfy her deep thirst, but finding only dry ground. It is a picture of life or death. For without water humans and most animals will not last long, particularly in harsh hot climates. Water is essential for life on earth. And so is God, but not only for now but for all eternity.  

Are you thirsty for God today?

One of the Beatitudes of Jesus says:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [found only in a right relationship with God], for they will be filled.     (Matthew 5:6)

Ideally, this should be our daily experience, to be those who seek a deeper relationship with the Living God, but most probably in this psalm, as Longman suggests, “the image is not the sentiment of a person who has a satisfying relationship with God that he wants to go deeper, but rather it is an expression of exasperation by someone who feels abandoned by God…The psalmist’s depression is such that it is as if his diet is made up of his tears… [but] He wants to be sustained by the streams of water that represent God.”  ( # 30)

In fact, the Bible has many references to God’s refreshing streams of water which alone can satisfy. Here are some examples:

In John 4 there is the fascinating story of Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. When she comes to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”  What follows is a life changing conversation with her that draws her into a new relationship with God when Jesus offers her living water. He explains, “everyone who drinks this [well] water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”              (John 4:1-42)

Later in John 7 we read of Jesus in Jerusalem at the time of the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles. John writes, On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.  (John 7:37-39)

 Then the last time John mentions this life-giving water is in the very last chapter of the Book of Revelation when we read, Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

The choice is yours! God will not force this upon you. Note the words, it’s a free gift.

Over the years the words that have often challenged me in times of spiritual “drought” (due to unforeseen circumstances, opposition or my own rebellion) are found in Jeremiah’s writings. In chapter 2 God reminds his rebellious people of how he led them through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, a land of drought and utter darkness and brought

[them]

into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. (2:6-7). Despite all this the people decided to go their own way and the Lord says:

But my people have exchanged their glorious God
    for worthless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, you heavens,
    and shudder with great horror,”
declares the Lord.
13 “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
    the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
    broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
   (2:11-13)

Every time you and I choose not to seek God and follow in his ways and drink of God’s living water and so life the abundant life that Jesus promised, then the only other option is some useless, leaking, broken alternative that will never satisfy and fail us every time. Whether it be money, possessions, fame, friends, intimate relationships, entertainment, whatever.

Jeremiah lets us know where all this will lead when he says:

all who forsake you [the Lord] will be put to shame.
Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust
    because they have forsaken the Lord,
    the spring of living water.
 (Jeremiah 17:13)

The choice is ours! The consequences are not!

Father, forgive me when I have made the pathetic decision to seek refreshment from the brackish water found in the world’s broken cisterns. Daily enable me to have the wisdom and discernment and love for you to drink from you, the spring of living water. Only then will my heart and soul be satisfied. Amen.

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