During the Palestinian uprising in the late 1980s the Israeli army decided to punish a village near Bethlehem for not paying its taxes (which, the village claimed, simply financed their occupation). The officer in command rounded up all of the village animals and placed them in a large barbed-wire pen. Later in the week a woman approached him and begged him to release her flock, arguing that since her husband was dead, the animals were her only source of livelihood. He pointed to the pen with hundreds of animals and quipped that it was impossible because he could not find her animals. She asked that if she could in fact separate them herself, would he be willing to let her take them? He agreed. A soldier opened the gate and the woman’s son produced a small reed flute. He played a simple tune again and again—and soon, sheep heads began popping up across the pen. The young boy continued his music and walked home followed by his flock of twenty-five sheep. The boy knew his sheep — and his sheep knew him.
From Jesus and the Jewish Festivals (Ancient Context, Ancient Faith) by Gary M. Burge. A wonderful image of how well we are to know Jesus. The wilderness is a desperate place. Life is a desperate place. Our shepherd is skilled and courageous. And if we remain under his leadership, if we recognise his voice, we will find safety and flourish.