Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Thirsty Deer Leads Worship!

Last month I joined my youngest son on an exciting overnight field trip to Tallahassee. We packed those two days with everything from a jungle cruise and a visit to the zoo to a tour of the Capitol that included handshakes with Senators and twenty minutes with Florida's Attorney General. The eloquent and down-to-earth woman (Pam Bondi) celebrated our children's manners and knowledge and encouraged them to continue to make good choices. As we left for our next adventure, she pointed to my son as he skipped away and said, "There goes a future president." Not bad for a first impression!

One of my favorite activities was walking through Florida's natural landscapes and learning about our red wolves, white-tailed squirrels, turkey mating behaviors (highly entertaining!), and, of course, the Florida alligator. As we wrapped up an exciting nature walk, a moving sight halted my failed attempts at catching up with the tour group. A group of five white-tailed deer seemed as surprised to see me as I was to spot them. One of them in particular caught my eye as he drank deeply from the waters that served as an almost perfect mirror for the surrounding live oaks.

Clearly more thirsty than the others, this deer closed its eyes with pure delight as he first licked the surface and, not fully satisfied, immersed his nose and mouth into the water, appearing to savor every gulp.

Without a single thought but lost in the moment, these words from Psalm 42 flooded my soul,

"As the deer pants for streams of water,
   so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
   When can I go and meet with God?" 
(Psalm 42:1,2) 

Answering the psalmist, it occurred to me that I'd just met God right there. As the animal continued to drink deeply, another passage stirred my soul, moving me to worship our Creator. 

 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
   come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
   and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to Me, and eat what is good,
   and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to Me;
   hear Me, that your soul may live."
(Isaiah 55:1-3a)

As these words formed in my soul, it was as if I joined the thirsty deer. I drank in God's goodness, praising Him for the beauty of His creation, for His presence all around us, and for His everlasting love. And I sensed His joy in my slowing down enough to hear His, "Yes! You found Me. Now, stay, and keep on drinking! Learn from that deer to get filled with that which truly satisfies."

Having been invited to such waters, why would we choose to lick only the surface or, worse, to drink from streams that don't last and don't satisfy? 

Its thirst quenched, the deer pranced away, maneuvering perfectly between the towering oaks all around us. And then I pictured my son skipping away, full of joy, after meeting the lovely Attorney General who encouraged him with hopeful words. Like that thirsty deer, may my son - and all of us! - continue to drink from the right streams, the ones that fill our souls and give us life. Whatever it is that God calls each of us to be, may we live to worship only Him.

In Him,
Dr Mari


  1. This is absolutely beautiful - I have always loved these verses and more importantly, why would we want to drink from that which does not satisfy.......I certainly don't want what the world has to give.

    God has everything I need and thank you for reminding me to drink from the living water!

  2. "Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this 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 4:13,14)

    Welcome to Dr Mari's Faith Stop, Brenda! May you (and I) drink from the streams of His mercy this coming week as we remember all He's done for us. God bless!


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