As we continue our look at Psalm 23, I want us to consider the phrase in 23:2, "He leads me beside quiet waters." Some translations say "still waters" or even "peaceful streams." Water was not always plentiful in Palestine during the days of David. The shepherd had to lead the sheep to find water to drink.
In my studies I ran across the fact that splashing or rushing water scares sheep. They need quiet water - still water - to drink from. In our turbulent world, we all too often do not take the time to drink from the living water provided by our Shepherd. We are easily frazzled, given to racing away from quiet time with God rather than running to Him for our peace.
The shepherd had to work hard to get the sheep to the quiet waters. He had to keep an eye out for the enemies of the flock that would hide near watering holes, waiting for that single sheep to stray just far enough from the rest of the flock to be vulnerable. And isn't that when the attacks come? When we are most vulnerable? When we are alone, or think we are?
While the shepherd was responsible to guide the sheep to the watering hole, it was the responsibility of the sheep to follow the shepherd. Sheep have to get up and eat in order to get all the shepherd wants them to have. We don't really like that kind of responsibility. We would rather have room service, or better yet, to be spoon-fed.
If we want the quiet waters to flow in our lives, we must make time to be with the Shepherd. We must recognize that our spiritual development is not the result of instant gratification. We have to figure out the difference between living it up and really living. One may taste better, but only one satisfies.