Psalm 23 (Psalms on the Trail)

"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." Psalm 23:1-3

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

You make me lie down in green pastures;

you lead me beside still waters;  you restore my soul.  Psalm 23: 1-3.

This photo was taken after  the most bitterly cold, rainy night I had yet endured in the tent.  The fog the evening before was thick and the world a deepening gray (not green) when I had finally set up camp in this former pasture because there was no shelter nearby.  My mashed potato supper was eaten in the face of a begging stray dog.  I refused him, but his ribs weren’t showing—mine were.  After crawling into the tent, I  had slept in every stitch of warmth I had packed.  Morning couldn’t come soon enough.  In the photo the phone camera lens is smudged with condensation, but I woke to a clarity of air and sun that was nothing short of brilliant.  I also woke to hunger, and I was out of water to make oatmeal and tea.  Just over the rise to the right and down a crease in the hill of about 200 yards was a clear pool of still water fed by a spring.   To describe how I felt, I will fall back on the psalmist’s words: that in the light of the morning I knew the Lord was my shepherd who had herded me to this spot.  That this was the first water I would have dared not to filter (although in habit I filtered it anyway).  That my soul was restored enough to continue the journey and not turn back. That I was about to embark on one of the best hiking days of whole pilgrimage.  “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow…..”


1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?   When has God restored your soul?

2. Or read all of Psalm 23 to discover how this verse fits into the psalm.

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that illustrates this verse’s meaning for you.

Tomorrow’s verse:  Psalm 24:1

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting a daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.