Trusting God

Psalm 23 – He Leads Me Beside Quiet Waters

Psalm 23: 2-3 he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

This blog focuses on the fourth chapter of W. Phillip Keller’s book, A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23. He has much to say about his experiences with his sheep and the profound implications of the verse that says he leads me beside quiet waters. Keller’s book reminds me that the narrative of the Bible incorporates elements of the earth to teach spiritual truths.

What are quiet waters? An absence of turbulent motion or disturbance; peaceful, calm, or tranquil.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, understands our souls need to be free from trouble, so he leads us to quiet waters where we can experience moments of peace and calm.

But will we let Him guide us there?

Keller explains as he leads his sheep to a magnificent mountain stream, some stop to drink from small, dirty muddy pools beside the trail. These dirty, bug-invested waters make the sheep sick. If only they would keep their eyes on the Shepherd and wait for the clear mountain stream. 

Aren’t we just like sheep? We settle for so much less because of our impatience with unanswered prayers.

Life presents many turbulent, unsettling moments. The Shepherd’s primary concern is guiding the herd to where they can receive the best dew-drenched grass and the cleanest water. Keller’s herd is not always sitting by a quiet stream. Sometimes they are in a dry field waiting to be led to the green pastures. Sometimes they are on a mountain pass, waiting to get beside the clean water.

What do we do in the dry field or on the slippery mountain pass? Do we believe the quiet waters will be ours again? 

Keller says that when we take our eyes off our Savior and taste what the world offers to satisfy our souls, it is like digging a cistern that will never hold water. His thoughts come from Jeremiah 2:13

13 “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
    the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
    broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

We have all been there – broken relationships, shattered hopes, barren souls that are dried up and parched, full of despair.

However, our Savior is a way-maker and will restore our dry, barren souls with the living waters.

John 7:38  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them."

Isn’t all water living? Jesus is speaking of the water of the Holy Spirit that gives life. 

Since September 2022, I have been attending Lifegate Church in Denver. Our pastor, Nirup, always asks for the Holy Spirit to be present with us before he speaks. The worship songs are full of honor and praise to God. People raise their hands and feel free to express their emotions. The words of the music lend themselves to this freedom of expression.

I love Wednesday night prayer nights at my new Church. We break out in groups of 4 or 5 with whomever we are sitting near, and we pray out loud for each other, our community, the world, and ourselves, which inevitability lends to us ministering to each other in words balanced with truth and grace.

Several Wednesdays ago, the prayer team spread out in the sanctuary, and people could freely go up to one of them and ask for prayers and get anointed with oil on their forehead. I looked around and saw many people pouring out their hearts to each other while the worship band played.

On that Wednesday night, I walked up to my pastor Nirup and Matt. Nirup had asked God to free me from the scorecard I always carry. He prayed that I would not feel the need to fix others but share what Jesus has done for me. Matt prayed that I would speak the truth to others because I had something to say. 

My prayer for my readers today is that we are the sheep that keep our eyes on the Shepherd as He leads us to the clean mountain streams. May you learn to rest comfortably next to the quiet stream, even if you are in the middle of what appears to be an unsolvable problem.

Let us go with the good Shepherd to the quiet waters.