The key or the clue to where water can be obtained lies with the shepherd.
Just as the physical body has a capacity and needs 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.
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.
Of course, dew is a clear, clean, pure source of water. And there is no more resplendent picture of still waters than the silver droplets of dew hanging heavy on leaves and grass at the break of day.
The good shepherd makes sure that his sheep can be out and grazing on this dew-drenched vegetation. If necessary, it will mean he himself has to rise early to be out with his flock. On the home ranch, he will see to it that his sheep benefit from this early grazing.
In the Christian life, it is of more than passing significance to observe that those who are often the most serene, more 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. This is much more than a mere figure of speech. It is a practical reality.
Now, strange as it may appear on the surface the deep wells of God from which we may drink are not always necessarily the delightful experiences we may imagine them to be. Some water wells are cut from the sandstone formation along the sandy rivers. They are like great rooms chiselled out of the rocks with ramps running down to the water trough at the bottom. The herds and flocks were led down into these deep cisterns where cool, clear, clean water awaited them.
In Christian life, exactly the same applies. Many of the places we may be led into will appear to us as dark, deep, dangerous, and somewhat disagreeable. But it simply must be remembered that He is there with us in it. He is very much at work in the situation. It is His energy, effort, and strength expended on my behalf that even in this deep, dark place is bound to produce a benefit for me.
An excerpt from A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23