O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where
there is no water.....
So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips,
when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
(New Revised Standard Version)
The temperature was about 40 degrees centigrade, and the taxi was unbearably hot all those years ago on my visit to Israel. We travelled through the Judean wilderness with barren crags on one side and sheer drops to the valley floor on the other side. All was one monochrome colour - sand-coloured, wind-shaped crags. There were no plants, no greenery, no trees, just the blue sky above and the pale-coloured rock below. My mouth was dry, and I desperately needed a drink - but it was 50 years before we took to carrying bottles of water. *
Then below us in the distance was the Dead Sea with its salt water, and the taxi stopped. My husband Adrian and I, got out to follow our cheerful driver down a path that wound downwards. In seconds we entered a hidden gorge and to our amazement a stream ran alongside the track. There were plants growing in every crevice, and in the shade of the high walls it was cool. We stopped for a while to take our shoes off and put our feet into the cold water.
The writer of Psalm 63 understands the heat of the desert and the lack of water. The only way he can describe his need for God is to say "It is like being in a desert, and I desperately need water! I need God that urgently, now!"
*Photo taken some years later, from Masada looking at the Dead Sea. The heat was unbearable that day as well!
we need Your love and understanding,
we need your compassion and care -
as much as we need water
when there has been no rain,
or when we're in a desert.
Remind us when we forget
how much we need You.