“He Leads Me Beside Quiet Waters”
IN THE hot climate of the Bible lands, sheep need to drink every day. Therefore, a vital part of a shepherd’s job is to provide water for his flock. Sometimes shepherds water their flocks from a well, pouring the water into troughs so that the sheep can drink. (Genesis 29:1-3) Particularly in the rainy season, however, the area around small streams and rivers provides peaceful, “well-watered resting-places.”—Psalm 23:2.
A good shepherd has to know where to find both water and suitable pasturage for his flock. His intimate knowledge of an area guarantees the survival of his sheep. David, who spent many years herding sheep in the Judean hills, compared God’s spiritual guidance to that of a shepherd who leads his sheep to good pastures and to life-giving water. “He leads me beside quiet waters,” said David according to one rendition.—Psalm 23:1-3, New International Version.
Years later, through his prophet Ezekiel, Jehovah used a similar illustration. He promised to collect his people from the lands to which they had been scattered, as a shepherd collects his sheep. “I will bring them . . . in onto their soil and feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streambeds,” he assured them.—Ezekiel 34:13.
Jehovah God is also very much concerned about providing spiritual water. The book of Revelation describes “a river of water of life” that flows from the throne of God. (Revelation 22:1) The invitation to drink from this river goes out to all people. “Anyone that wishes [can] take life’s water free.”—Revelation 22:17.
This symbolic water of life represents God’s provisions for everlasting life. Anyone can begin to drink from such water by ‘taking in knowledge of the only true God and of the one whom he sent forth, Jesus Christ.’—John 17:3.