A pastor by the name of Griffiths Thomas once had a study leave in Israel. Toward the end of his stay his Israeli host asked him if there was anything else that he would like to see. He said, “I would like to see an eastern shepherd with his flock.”
The next morning they were up bright and early and they went for miles into the country until they came to a great watering hole. After sitting there for a while they heard some bleats and they looked up and saw a shepherd appearing with his sheep. He wasn’t driving them from behind with dogs. He was leading them from way out front.
Griffiths Thomas then noticed from a different direction there was another shepherd and he was leading his sheep and before long, another shepherd with his flock appeared.
All of these sheep came right down and mixed together around the water while the shepherds chatted to one another. The sheep were going in all directions and there was no way that you could tell one flock from another and who belonged to whom.
As this was happening Griffiths Thomas said to his host, “Tell me, how do the shepherds sort out their sheep when it is time to go?” The host said with a twinkle in his eye, “You wait and see.”
Well, later when drinks were over, the shepherds began to walk back in the direction from which they had come. Griffiths Thomas then witnessed a remarkable sight. From one great seething mob, individual sheep began crossing paths and heading out in the direction from which they had come, following the shepherd who was calling them.
Griffiths Thomas took one of those shepherds aside and through the interpreter said, “Do the sheep always follow the shepherd?” And the shepherd said, “Yes, they always do, unless they are sick or unwell. If they are unwell they will follow anyone.”