He Leads Me Beside Still Waters
When I read through W. Phillip Keller’s explanation of watering sheep in “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23“, my mind kept wandering to the woman at the well in John 4. Jesus seemed to go out of the way for a “divine appointment” with this Samaritan woman. When she came to the well for water, he asked her to give him a drink. She was dubious because Jews did not associate with Samaritans. “How can you ask me for a drink?” she asked.
He told her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
She asked him how he could possibly do that. 12“Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Jesus demonstrated to this woman that he knew her. He knew her secrets, and he was not afraid to discuss hard issues with her. So she said,
25 “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
Jesus reminded this woman of her inherent need to be filled with living water that can only come from Messiah, the Good Shepherd, and then he said, “–I am He.”
A good shepherd, Keller explains, deliberately prepares and diligently provides a source of good, clean water for his sheep, even if that means digging a well like Jacob did. Sheep require water for life, just like all other living beings; if they become thirsty when no clean water is in sight, they will wander and settle for the first water they find. This is often stagnant, dirty, and filled with parasites. It will only temporarily satisfy their craving, and with time the parasites will infest their bodies and ruin their health.
The best source of water is the heavy dew on the rich pasture grass. When a shepherd takes his sheep to graze early in the morning, they can take in so much dew that they are satisfied with all the water they need for the day. God provides that still water, the dew.
I knew a young man who accepted a dare to drink gutter water. A few hours later he was in urgent care with a belly ache. He learned…
All people are made to crave a relationship with God. So often they try to satisfy their craving with other things: other relationships, work, hobbies, education, arts, drugs and alcohol, sex… the list goes on and on, and so does the craving. Anything less than the living water of the Savior is like that gutter water. Sometimes it causes a belly ache, sometimes it is full of bad things that ruin our health, and it never satisfies.
Our Good Shepherd deliberately prepared to come be the Savior of the world, and He diligently offers us the opportunity to drink of His Spirit and inherit eternal life. Those who follow Him will never crave again.