Woven through the Psalm and the passage in Ezekiel are references to water. There is fresh water which gives life and sustenance, and salt water which exists in the Dead Sea….and in tears!
The psalmist is lamenting because his illness keeps him from going to the temple. He wistfully remembers the last time he sojourned there with many others, happily rejoicing and worshipping.
In Ezekiel, the messenger from God shows him in a vision how the saltwater of the Dead Sea shall, as it passes the temple, become fresh water nourishing trees along the banks, and becoming a place where all life flourishes.
“As a deer longs for cooling streams, so my soul longs for you, oh God”. I love this psalm, and years ago, it inspired me to create a painting which now hangs in our living room.
I am struck, and can identify with the deep longing of one who feels at a parched place in life. The emotional landscape is barren and stuck while waiting for interaction from the Divine. The only water available is the salt water of tears of lament.
But then, there is the image of the deer, and the thought that the thirst will be assuaged if only one remembers that there is hope. “Hope in God”. It is a refrain which echoes through the desert, and opens the heavens and showers blessing upon us, healing and nourishing and flowing freely from the throne of God.
This is the day we think of a candle shining in the darkness-the cooling stream in a parched world. Lament becomes joyous praise!