As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
Psalm 42:1 NIV
According to the canadiandogs.com website, “One of the most common reasons dogs pant is because they’re hot. ‘The evaporation of sweat from our skin cools us humans,’ says veterinarian Dr. Doug Knueven. ‘Since dogs do not have sweat glands in their skin, the evaporation of oral fluids allowed by panting helps cool them down.’ Certain dog breeds reach panting levels of heat far more quickly than others, depending where the breed developed. Some dogs also have a high rate of metabolism that can increase their temperature and lead to panting.’”
There is a lovely species of deer that once populated the entire Middle East but is found now only in Iran and Israel. The Persian fallow dear was reintroduced to Israel in modern times, and while once on the endangered list, there are about 1000 deer in Israel. Under Jewish dietary law, it is considered a clean animal and therefore Kosher. However, because of its limited number it is only found in Israel in protected parks. For thousands of years, the people of Israel have enjoyed these beautiful animals, so it isn’t surprising that they would be used as an illustration of the longing in every human heart for God. In Psalm 42:1 we read, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” Water in a dry and arid land is a precious commodity. Every animal needs it to survive. The deer in Israel would search for it in order to be refreshed. In the same way, we long for the refreshing that only the Lord Jesus can offer to our soul. In a spiritually dry and arid land, Jesus is the living water for which we all long.
These have been words from the heart.