What we learn about ourselves from 127 Hours

February 24, 2020

Ever watched the movie 127 Hours?

It’s based on a true story and is about a mountaineer named Aron Ralston who, while hiking through a canyon, slips and falls, knocking over a boulder that crushes his right hand and wrist.

Aron realizes he is stuck and completely isolated.

We see, in the movie, how he spends the next five days maintaining a video diary to maintain morale. He rations his food and water and records how much water he has left in his bottle constantly.

He knows how essential water is to his body if he is to stay alive.

He finally ends up running out of water at which point he is forced to drink his own urine. We see him become distressed and desperate at this point.

On the sixth day, he manages to free himself, and the first thing we see him do is look for a source of water, leading him to find a muddy pond that he ends up drinking rainwater from.

Why are we talking about this?

If you’ve grown up in church, you’re most definitely familiar with the song ‘As the Deer’, the lyrics of which go –

As the deer pants for the water
So my soul longs after you

When we think of this song, most of us get this picture of a young fawn prancing about a brook, occasionally taking sips of cool water. We sing this song and imagine a peaceful scenery of security and bliss.

Except that’s not what the psalmist had in mind when he wrote Psalm 42, on which this song is based.

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 

Psalm 42:1

You see, the psalmist understood the nature of deer better than most others. He knew that water is central to the life of a deer, who are known to drink up to five quarts of water per day. He knew that they tend to rest near water, and often go to water before eating.

He knew the way deer pant for water, how desperate they are for it, and how most deer centre their life around water.

The picture that the psalmist paints is not a peaceful one. It’s a picture similar to that of Aron Ralston in the movie.

It is a picture of distress and desperation.

As the deer is desperate for water, so is his soul desperate for God.

He knows He absolutely needs God, and that without God, He will not survive, not even for a moment.

His soul pants and thirsts for God and he is aware of his absolute necessity for His Creator.

He is aware of the God-shaped hole is his heart that only his Lord can fill.

Is that us?

Are we that desperate for God? Can we say of ourselves that our souls thirst for Him?

Because here’s the thing – we all have that God-shaped hole in us. We all need Him. In Him alone can we find fullness of life.

The only difference between the psalmist and some of us is that, we aren’t well aware of our need.

We are content with temporary glitter and gold while our soul aches and thirsts for life.

The question is – are we willing to admit our need for Him today?

Are we willing to be desperate for Him? To cry out for Him? To admit that nothing in this world will satisfy?

Because only then will we find truly satisfaction – in Him who is truly satisfying.


Here’s an instrumental cover of the song ‘As the Deer’. We pray and hope it blesses you.


O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. - Psalm 63:1
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