Many Westerners think of the “green pastures” mentioned in Psalm 23 as tall, lush grasslands like those in North America. But such pastures don’t exist in Israel.

The regions in Israel where shepherds live are predominantly wilderness areas. They have two seasons: the rainy season from November through March (when even the desert becomes green), and the dry season from April through October when the landscape is brown.

Even during the rainy season, the wilderness grasses remain short. Blades of grass grow in the shade of rocks, where moisture is trapped. At first glance, the “green pastures” of Israel look like a barren, rocky wasteland. But each day, a few blades of grass grow and there is enough to nourish the flocks for another day.

Sheep that graze in the wilderness receive enough nourishment for the moment, but no more. Day to day, the sheep depend on their shepherd to lead them to “green pastures” and water they need.

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