Psalm 63 stands out today as a full-hearted song of praise and trust in God, though again we tend to play down the side of it which is about (again) the downfall of the psalmist’s enemies.
The image of thirsting for God is certainly an eloquent one. We need water regularly and often, even without the placing of this Psalm ‘when David was in the wilderness of Judah’. But most of us find that we can actually go for quite a while without being aware of God’s presence, without feeling an aching need like a desperate thirst.
I know there’s a lot of debate about how real the risk of dehydration is in everyday life, and a suspicion that it’s fuelled as much by the bottled-water industry as by any real science. But I also know that having enough water to drink is a good thing,whether or not it’s true that we’re often a bit dehydrated without realising it.
Of course I know that we’re never really without God’s presence, and perhaps we have enough background awareness of him to keep us going. At the same time, I know that I came back from retreat just over a week ago much more consciously aware of God’s present reality, and that for a while it was easy, almost compelling, to make time to pray and meditate. But already it’s got a bit easier to settle into a state of what’s probably mild spiritual dehydration and to accept it as normal.
This week I’ll work to drink in enough of God that I get back to recognising when I’m getting thirsty – before I get dehydrated.