Israel has a wide range of climate differences in such a small country. In the wilderness South of Jerusalem the climate is arid with little rainfall each year. It is rocky, dry, and difficult to find vegetation or water. As you move north the precipitation levels rise as does the quality of the soil and the amount of vegetative growth.
It was no easy job for a shepherd to lead his sheep to green pastures and still waters in that changing landscape. Shepherding in Israel was a semi-nomadic endeavor because the sheep would eat the grass from one pasture area and need to move north to find more grass on which to feed. If they sat in one spot all year they would eat all the food quickly and die of starvation. The shepherd would evaluate the needs of the flock and move them northward day by day to provide the best grass for feeding and the best water for drinking. Only a shepherd that knew the route north could move his flock safely and securely to green pastures and still waters.
During the season of Lent the church talks in the language of a journey to the cross. We’re following Jesus, and fortunately for us, we’re following a Good Shepherd who knows the way! He is the Way! (John 14:6) Jesus knows the lay of the land, he knows the greenest pastures, and he knows the best way to lead you to a safe drinking hole. Follow Him! He not only knows the way in this world, but he also knows the way to eternal life. The way to heaven goes through Jesus. The unending green pastures and waters of life are there for eternity for all who follow him!
Dear Jesus, lead me to green pastures and quiet waters in this world and the next. Amen.