He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
Psalm 23:2 (ESV)
Water is necessary for life. In fact, the human body consists mostly of water. Without water we die, but not just any water. Stagnant or contaminated water can cause sickness and even death. The water to where our Shepherd leads us is “living water” which brings refreshment to our souls. Our Shepherd leads us beside peaceful waters of rest. It is the peaceful rest of relying on the Shepherd to take care of all that concerns us. We really can cast all of our care on him because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
The scripture doesn’t say that he drives us to still waters or that he drags us, but that he leads us. He is in front of us showing us the way. The sheep will know the voice of their Shepherd, a stranger they will not follow (John 10:3-5). And if our Shepherd is leading us, it stands to reason that we are following him. Jesus said, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27 ESV) Nowhere else will we find peaceful rest except in following Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30). He is the way (John 14:6).
In John’s gospel he tells the story of Jesus meeting a woman by a well in Samaria (John 4:1-42). Jesus asked the woman for water then says to her, Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:13-14 ESV) Many sheep were lead to the peaceful waters of rest by the encounter of Jesus with this woman. Jesus later said, Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38 ESV) The Good Shepherd is always leading his sheep to a life-sustaining source of peaceful rest.
The great news is that this life-sustaining source does not end in this life; it continues for eternity. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:17 ESV) And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.” (Revelation 21:6 ESV) The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Revelation 22:17 ESV)
Do you know the voice of the Shepherd? Have you drunk from his well?
Scriptures for meditation: