Jesus emphasized, “I can guarantee this truth: I am the Gate for the sheep.” John 10:7, 9-10 We have a funny little morning routine at our home. The “funny” part comes along with the flock of sheep we have in the field behind our house. Every morning, the sheep gather along the fenceline and main gate that is nearest to our house. They’re watching. They’re looking at the windows along the back of our house, watching for any human activity to begin behind those windows. Of course, our favorite ones are right there at the gate. They know the routine. The humans behind the glass will come out of the house, walk across the big backyard, and come through the gate. The baa-ing begins as soon as the first gawking sheep sees movement behind those glass windows. Then all of the sheep look towards the house. They know that their breakfast will be coming soon. And they all start baa-ing, even if they don’t actually see the humans yet. They know the shepherd will fill the feeding trough with some yummy hay, and make sure their water is available. But first, (a new addition to the routine)....the one sheep with the biggest head has once again spent the night stuck in the hay-feeder, because his wool is so thick on his big round head that he can’t back out of the feeder without help. He isn’t content to eat the hay he could reach outside of the bars. No! He shoves his head through the bars. Same routine every morning. So, before the shepherd can re-fill the feeder with fresh hay, he has to help “Big Head” get out of the feeder. And we know that he’ll get stuck again today. . . and tomorrow. . . But the sheep don’t go and stand at the feeder, waiting for the hay that they know they’ll get (except of course for the “Big Head”, who has once again spent the night stuck in there!). They stand at the gate, watching for the shepherd who will feed them . . . water them . . . “un-stuck” them. . . so that they will be able to lie down and digest their breakfast and rest. They wait at “the gate”, because they know the “who” will come to them there. Jesus IS our Gate. On the other side of the Gate is fresh water . . . fresh nourishment . . . safety from any predators, and pleasant spots to lie down and rest as the daily food digests. But not only is He the Gate of our safe place, He is the Living Water for our thirsty souls. And He is the Provider of our daily Food. He comes every morning. Every evening. Throughout the day He is aware . . . watching His sheep for any sign of fear or troubling behaviors or danger. His Presence with us always begins at the Gate.