How amazing is that ancient Jordanian city of Petra. Can’t put into words the magnitude of this long-abandoned metropolis. We weren’t petrified by its enormity. More like Petra-fried by its blistering heat! 120 degrees! Yes, dry heat. But so’s an oven, and I don’t plan on hanging around there too long either!
Dry, all-consuming, thirst clutches our throats. We tote lots of water. Sufficient for the first hour or two of our all-day tour. Cardboard soon inhabits our lips, mouths and throats. Never have we felt such cotton-mouthed thirst. When later we arrive back at a nearby restaurant, and then to our cruise ship, we drink and drink and drink even more. Water that is, wise guy!
Psalm 23 pictures a similar desert locale. I love how the shepherd cares for his sheep, making sure they’re led to suitable pasture, where also fresh water flows. Psalm 23: 2–‘He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.’ King David, this psalm’s poet, identifies the Lord as the shepherd.
Thirsty, hungry sheep have nothing to fear as they follow their shepherd. If they balk at something or get wedged in, he has a way of moving them along. He won’t let the flock be decimated or wander off lost and forgotten.
To follow the shepherd is all for our own good. After all, he knows where food and drink can be found. He’ll do all in his power to get us there, even when unknown valleys feel like death lurks right around the corner. But it doesn’t. We don’t know that. But he does. All we need to do is trust and shadow him. Move out…behind him. His follower.
Good idea? To follow Jesus, who calls Himself the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)? No doubt about it. There’s much goodness ahead. Even bucket-loads of water to quench the thirst of Petra-fried folk!
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being our Good Shepherd. Amen.