There are spaces in the Gospels where a trip is summarized with “they traveled to” or “sometime later”. We don’t know what happened in those gaps, in those times of traveling, in those periods of just living.
One day, perhaps, Jesus and the disciples were traveling through the hill country. They stopped, midday, under the scrub trees.
Looking across the valley, they all saw a shepherd, driving his flock of sheep.
“The Lord is my shepherd,” Jesus murmured to himself.
“What?” asked John, sitting nearby.
“The Lord is my shepherd. I don’t have to worry about providing for myself. He leads me next to quiet pools. He stops til I sit down. He heals me, inside and out.”
“What was David talking about?” John asked, quietly, as the rest of the guys were dozing.
“This,” Jesus said, glancing around. “A life of following the Bread and the Water, of chatting with the shepherd, of belonging, of feeling at home in the middle of anything.”
“But how did David know that? I mean, he was being wishful, right? Imagining what it might be like to have God be a shepherd like him?” John said, mostly wanting to understand.
Jesus looked at John, quietly. He looked at the sheep across the valley, he looked at the sleeping disciples, Peter with a faint smile on his face. He looked at the scraps of food, at the pool where everyone had washed the dust from their feet and faces and flowing mountain stream where they had filled their mouths and leather bottles.
He looked at John as if to say, “For David and I it was just like this.”
John looked up at the sun, trying to gauge the time. He started to say, “Don’t we need to get moving?” And then he stopped.
(This is revised from August 18, 2009)