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   07/19/2009 Security Knox 16 PC 407/358/651

Psalm 46 Isaiah 49:8-18 Revelation 22:1-5, 17

OOPS! The minimum annual rainfall necessary for dry-land farming in the Mid-East is 7 inches. But the variability of rainfall conditions may make agriculture marginal even in areas with 11 inches. Thus only in areas with a mean rainfall of more than 11 inches per year is there a minimal risk of crop failure due to drought. Large parts of the Middle East are highly marginal for rain-fed agriculture.  
  UGH! Although sheep thrive in dry, semi-arid country, they require water. They are not like some of the African gazelles which can survive fairly well on the modest amount of moisture found in natural forage.
When sheep are thirsty they become restless and set out in search of water to satisfy their thirst. If not led to the good water supplies of clean, pure water, they will often end up drinking from the polluted pot holes where they pick up such internal parasites as nema-todes, liver flukes or other disease germs.  
  Christ, our Good Shepherd, made it clear that thirsty souls of men and women can only be fully satisfied when their capacity and thirst for spiritual life is fully quenched by drawing on Himself. At the great feast in Jerusalem He declared boldly, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." "To drink" in spiritual terminology simply means "take in" - or "to accept" - or "to believe."
But a great many people choose the way of the polluted waters. Again people are searching for something, which they do not know or understand. They search in places where there is no life to be found. They drink of the polluted springs of life and only find illness and death.  
  There is an advertisement on the television of a woman going down the street on a red carpet rolling up behind her and then rolling out before her. The gist of the advertisement is is that the casinos treat you like VIPs. They give you all the best service and care while they have their hands in your back pocket, sucking all your money away. This might seem like an innocent advertisement, but it is very much of the devil. If you have ever known or met a person who has the addiction of gambling, which is just as destructive as alcohol, you would understand what I mean.
I know someone who almost lost his life to the mob because of this gambling addiction. I know a man who is losing his family right now. He may end up out on the streets because he has sucked all the money he can from everybody that he knows and loves. This is to choose the polluted waters of life. It is failure to connect with the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  
  AHA! In the desert land, water is more valuable than gold. He leads me beside still waters. He leads me to the place where the most pure water is. Water can bring healing, and refreshment, and renewal. He leads me to the place where he has prepared this great supply of water.
WHEE! It will be noticed that here again the key or the clue to where water can be obtained lies with the shepherd. It is he who knows where the best drinking places are. In fact very often he is the one who with much effort and industry has provided the watering places. And it is to these spots that he leads the flock.  
  The body of an animal such as a sheep is composed of about 70% water on an average. This fluid is used to maintain normal body metabolism; it is a portion of every cell, contributing to its turgidity and normal life functions. Water determines the vitality, strength and vigour of the sheep and is essential to its health and general well-being.
Now, just as the physical body has a capacity and need for water, so Scripture points out to us clearly that the human personality, the human soul has a capacity and need for the water of the Spirit of the eternal God. Revelation 22:17. The Spirit and the bride say, "come!" And let those who hear say, " come!" Let those who are thirsty come; and let all who wish take the free gift of the water of life.  
  This relates back to the call of Jesus Christ when he meets the woman at the well in John's gospel in chapter 4. Jesus says to the woman. "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." The living water is used to describe the Holy Spirit.
He is like that cleansing power where the water flows from the temple according to Ezekiel, and it finds its way all the way down to the dead Sea and everything in the dead Sea becomes now alive and well. It is important to have pure, fresh, clean water every day. Good clean water acts as a clean sponge in the inside of the body to soak up all the impurities and to cause them to flow away and out of the body.  
  This connection of Psalm 23 to Revelation 22 speaks echos of Romans 8 where the apostle writes that we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. It is like being greeted by the one who is our Victor and receiving the life that we so desire, a life filled with joy. A life filled with joy is what it means to have security. A life filled with joy extends the Gospel to all of those around them.
Listen to Revelation 22. In the beginning then the angel showed me the River of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding as fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of the lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.  
  An ending of war and the beginning of peace. Every nation on the spur of the desire to have peace. But, every nation on the face of the Earth is fighting some war at sometime in some place.
Just like in the greener pastures, the Shepherd prepares the place by making a place of pure, clear, crystal, water. This is the water which he calls us to. He leads me beside still waters. Still waters run deep and remain pure, avoiding the contact with all the pollution of the environment above.  
  One of the most arid regions on earth is found along the Persian Gulf. Because little rain ever falls, fresh water is not readily available. The people survive because divers with great goatskin bags plunge to the bottom of the sea where copious springs exist. Returning to the surface with these huge containers filled with crystal-clear water, they supply refreshment for the thirsty inhabitants.
Not too long ago an unusual commercial recording came out. Each side of the disc has 20 minutes of absolute silence, followed by 30 seconds of thunderous applause. Think of it--40 minutes of dead silence at a cost of $5.00 per album! This underscores the tremendous longing in modern man for a bit of peace and quiet. Confronted with the bombardment of decibels that threaten to leave his hearing impaired, man seeks for some semblance of silence. He hears the chatter of crowds, the banging of machinery, the roar of planes, and the noise of traffic--all of this outside; but more annoying still is the turmoil within!  
  Saint Augustine of Africa summed it up so well when he wrote, "0 God! You have made us for Yourself and our souls are restless, searching, 'til they find their rest in You." All the long and complex history of earth's religions, pagan worship and human philosophy is bound up with this insatiable thirst for God.
David, when he composed Psalm 23, knew this. Looking at life from the standpoint of a sheep he wrote, "He [the Good Shepherd] leads me beside the still waters." In other words, He alone knows where the still, quiet, deep, clean, pure water is to be found that alone can satisfy His sheep and keep them fit and strong. He leads us to Himself!  
  Generally speaking, water for the sheep came from three main sources . . . dew on the grass . . . deep wells..... or springs and streams. Most people are not aware that sheep can go for months on end, especially if the weather is not too hot, . Without actually drinking, if there is heavy dew on the grass each morning.
Sheep, by habit, rise just before dawn and start to feed. Or if there is bright moonlight they will graze at night. The early hours are when the vegetation is drenched with dew, and sheep can keep fit on the amount of water taken in with their forage when they graze just before and after dawn.  
  In the Christian life it is of more than passing significance to observe that those who are often the most serene, most confident and able to cope with life's complexities are those who rise early each day to feed on God's Word. It is in the quiet, early hours of the morning that they are led beside the quiet, still waters where they imbibe the very life of Christ for the day. We may not be morning people, but we need to find time to graze.
A woman goes to a doctor and he writes out a prescription for her. "Take the blue pill after every meal with a glass of water and the red pill with a glass of water just before bed." The woman asked, "Doctor, what exactly is wrong with me?" The doctor replied, "You're not drinking enough water."  
  Taking in the water prepares us to meet the challenges of each day.
Resting in Him can attract others to the water of life. Our call becomes attractive.  
  YEAH! Spurgeon wrote: "I have heard that in the deserts, when the caravans are in need of water, the leader is accustomed to send a camel with its rider some distance in advance. Then after a little space, another follows, and at a short interval, another. As soon as the first man finds water, almost before he stoops down to drink, he shouts aloud, 'Come!' The next rider, hearing the voice, repeats the word, 'Come!' and the nearest to him takes up the cry until the whole wilderness echoes with the one word, 'Come!'"
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