“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, the diligent manager, makes sure 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 or afield he will see to it that his sheep benefit from this early grazing.
In the Christian life it is 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. This is much more than a mere figure of speech. It is practical reality. The biographies of the great men and women of God repeatedly point out how the secret of the success in their spiritual life was attributed to the “quiet time” of each morning. There, alone, still waiting for the Master’s voice, one is led gently to the place where, as the old hymn puts it, “The still dews of His Spirit can be dropped into my life and soul.”
One comes away from these hours of meditation, reflection, and communion with Christ refreshed in mind and spirit. The thirst is slaked and the heart is quietly satisfied.” (Keller, pg 60-61)
Learning about how sheep can get a lot of their water supply from dew is so fascinating to me! I love how W. Phillip Keller talks about how sheep are early risers and they love to graze when the vegetation is drenched with dew.
If you have been following along on here for a while (or if you just look at my Instagram name) then you know that I am passionate about the early morning hours of the day. I have been implementing an early morning ritual/routine in my life for over 4 years now and it has made such a significant positive impact in my life… probably more than I even realize.
I don’t always get to all of the elements of my routine every morning, but the 2 that I am always sure to accomplish are prayer and scripture study. I know that this daily practice greatly benefits my life. I firmly believe in the power of early mornings.
One of my favorite quotes… “If you are to be successful…you will need to be inspired. You will need to receive revelation. I will give you one piece of advice: Go to bed early and get up early. If you do, your body and mind will become rested and then in the quiet of those early morning hours, you will receive more flashes of inspiration and insight than at any other time of the day.” (Harold B. Lee)
As I was reading this chapter of the book (A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23), it struck me that if necessary, a good shepherd would have to rise early himself and be out with his flock to make sure they had what they needed.
I wonder… did Heavenly Father design sheep (and possibly other farm animals) to need/desire dew as a main water source… so that their human shepherds would be “forced” to be awake and outside during the early morning hours… because Heavenly Father knows how powerful the early morning is and He wants His sheep (His children) to partake of that? Just a thought.
I also think it’s neat that I felt particularly drawn to looking at the dew on the grass this morning during our morning walk…even before reading this chapter today.
If you’re curious, you can read more about my morning routine on my blog or watch my highlights.