The first time we were in Turkey we were near the area of Laodicea when our guide pointed out a shepherd on a nearby hill. The shepherd would make a trilling-kind of noise and the sheep who were happily grazing would lift their heads and follow him as he walked to another spot. Then when we were in Israel our group came upon several shepherds watering their sheep at a community watering hole. When one was ready to leave they made a specific sound and all of their sheep separated from the rest who were drinking and followed the shepherd (who appeared to be about 12-15 years old). It was such an amazing picture of what John wrote in Chapter 10, verses 3 and 4: "He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice."
Since we westerners are familiar with animals in pastures and move them from one place to another by driving them with sticks, I had never understood this passage until I saw a living example of it. The above video illustrates it perfectly. The shepherd guides his sheep through the danger of traffic. They trust him and wait for his lead. What a great picture of how our walk with Jesus, our Good Shepherd, is to be.
Here is the whole passage from John 10: “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father —and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life —only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”While in Israel, we were taken to a cave the shepherd's used for protection of the sheep at night. There was only one opening to the cave and that is where the shepherd slept so the sheep could not get out without going over (or through) him. So many things make sense (see verses 7-9) when you see them through the eyes of those who wrote the Bible, or to whom it was written.