Psalm 42 (Psalms on the Trail)


“As the deer longs for flowing streams,

so longs my soul for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God , for the living God;

when shall I come and behold the face of God”  

Psalm 42:1-2


I took my dog Winnie on a day hike on the AT not too far from home to log in some more miles.  It was her first time joining me on the AT.  Now Winnie has some Bassett hound in her among other things.  As far as I am concerned, that means she has a mind of her own…or maybe it is a nose of her own that takes over and makes her forgetful of anything else.   She  disappeared twice on me, the second time for a good half hour in spite of my whistle calling her back.  I sat down at a deserted fire circle and tried to figure out what to do.  Do I keep walking?  Do I wait?  Would I ever see her again?  Why did I let her off leash?  (Although, try to keep a hound on leash in the woods!)  Finally she came dragging in, tongue hanging out the side of her mouth.  Yes, the one thing that brought Winnie in was her thirst for water.

Actually thirst is an amazing thing , isn’t it?  This strange sensation in our mouths and throats that signals how much our bodies’ cells have been ignored and are desperately in need of hydration.  We ignore this message at our peril, but then, why would we?  Gulping down water is such a strange pleasure as it washes over our thirst nerves or whatever it is that makes us feel the thing called “thirst.”  Thirst may have been the only thing that brought Winnie back to me.  And maybe that strange soul thirst is the only thing that draws me back to God; I might ignore the Holy One otherwise. I do believe that somewhere buried in all of us is a soul’s thirst for its Maker. The psalmist blatantly admits this. However, thirst or no thirst, that doesn’t mean I’m trusting Winnie and her nose to have free reign  on the AT again.


1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder? When are you apt to notice your thirst for God?

2. Or read all of Psalm 42 to discover how this verse fits into the psalm or to discover a different verse.

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that illustrates this verse’s meaning for you.

Tomorrow’s verse:  Psalm 43:3

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting a daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.