BY HANNAH STAPLETON, GRACE ATTENDER
We are happy to bring you a bonus blog this week. We hope that this will resonate with you and you can take a piece with you throughout the week as you seek still waters.
1The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
If you should know anything about me, one of the first things is that I’m an introvert. Social things make me tired. I feel the most rested and recharged when I get time to myself. I like to read in quiet and go on walks in the woods. I don’t hang out at parties for more than 2 hours. I will almost always choose a night at home over anything else. I don’t like crowds because they drain all my energy so fast.
I try to be good about making sure I have time to rest, but lately, it’s just not working. I feel drained all the time. It’s like only putting enough gas in your car to have about a quarter of a tank and never filling up all the way. I’m desperate to find a way, anyway, to get some rest so that I can feel more like myself. I hate running on empty, not able to give enough to the people that I love.
In the 23 Psalm, David writes that “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” 23:1-2. Now, still waters sound gross. It seems scummy and probably mosquito-infested, but soul restoration? I could use some of that. Badly.
I read that in Hebrew, “still waters” is “Mai Menochot,” which literally translates to “restful waters.” These waters are more than just still. They’re actually just gently trickling—still and restful in comparison to raging and dangerous flood waters, waters that could kill the Shepherd’s flock. The Good Shepherd takes his sheep to safe waters that will nourish these sheep. The still waters aren’t gross and full of malaria—they’re life-giving.
So often, friends, I find myself so tired. This world sucks the life out of me, and I rarely feel like I have enough energy to conquer whatever faces me each day. I consume vats of coffee and go to bed early and read in quiet spaces to must the strength I need for another day. But, especially lately, nothing seems to be really working. It doesn’t matter if I take a vacation day or read uninterrupted for hours (reading is my go-to recharging method), I am still so empty the next day.
I am desperate for still waters. I would love some green pastures and a gentle brook and some soul restoration.
This part of the 23 Psalm makes me think about Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. After Jesus asks her for a drink, she’s surprised, since Jews (like Jesus) and Samaritans (like her) didn’t get along. He tells her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10, emphasis mine). Our Jesus, our Shepherd, is living water.
He doesn’t just lead us to still waters—He is the still water. He is life-giving and thus, soul restoring. When he leads us to still waters, He is leading us to Himself, to the only thing that can fully restore us in this crazy, busy, draining world.
No wonder I’m always tired. Jesus straight up tells us that yeah, those still waters I want so bad from Psalms? That’s Him. That soul restoration I want? That’s Him. I’ve just got to trust my Shepherd.
A stupid sheep, such as myself, isn’t going to know where safe water is or those green pastures. She’s going to wander around aimlessly and either find a predator or dehydration. So, she knows to stick with the Shepherd. The shepherd keeps her safe.
To be honest, I don’t stick as close to my Shepherd as I should. I wander around sometimes. I try to find rest and still waters all on my own. I don’t have a great success record. This summer, instead of complaining about how tired I am and constantly turning to other things to find rest, I’m going to try to turn to Jesus more. To pray instead of making a third cup of coffee. To spend some time in the Word before I pick up my novel. To stick close to the Shepherd.