Thou Shepherd of Israel and Mine

William Webb’s 1864 The Good Shepherd hangs at the Manchester Art Gallery. It depicts a Christ-like shepherd with a sheep over his shoulders, which he returns to his fold. Notice the barren and parched terrain from which the sheep is being transported. It had wandered from the pasture to the desert; see the briars and thorns still caught in its fleece. The sheep must be carried for it is too weak and wearied to walk of its own accord; its disorientation makes it impossible to know which way to go home in any event. Therefore the shepherd himself comes to retrieve and redeem.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep”. John 10:11-13 (NKJV)

Which other god or person would go out of His way to bring you home? On who else’s shoulders would you be carried, if not the great Shepherd of Love's? On Sunday night we sang Thou Shepherd of Israel and Mine:


Thou Shepherd of Israel, and mine,

The joy and desire of my heart,

For closer communion I pine,

I long to reside where thou art.


The pastures I languish to find

Where all who their shepherd obey

Are fed, on thy bosom reclined,

And screened from the heat of the day.