He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. Psalm 23:2
The key to where water can be obtained lies with the shepherd. It is he who knows where the best drinking places are, and very often he is the one who has provided the watering places.
When sheep are thirsty they become restless and set out in search of water. If not led to clean, pure water, they will often end up drinking from polluted holes where they pick up parasites and diseases. Christ, our Good Shepherd, made it clear that the thirsty souls of men and women can only be fully satisfied when their thirst for spiritual life is quenched by drawing on Himself: “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.” The difficulty is that men and women who are “thirsty” for God often are unsure of where to look, and in their dilemma will drink from any dirty pool to try and satisfy their thirst.
David, when he composed Psalm 23, knew that God alone knows where the still, quiet, deep, clean, pure water is to be found that alone can satisfy His sheep and keep them fit and strong.
It is interesting to note that if there is heavy dew on the grass each morning, sheep can go for months on end without actually drinking. The good shepherd, the diligent manager, makes sure that his sheep can be out and grazing on this dew-drenched vegetation. In the Christian life it is significant to observe that those who are often the most serene, most confident, and most able to cope with life’s complexities are those who rise early each day to feed on God’s Word. It is in the quiet, early hours of morning that they are led beside the quiet, still waters where they imbibe the life of Christ for the day.
—Adapted from A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller