The lambing season was at full throttle – the poor farmer bleary-eyed from disturbed nights tending to ewes with two or more lambs.
Many delivered their offspring with no aid at all, others needed specific midwifery care.
Only ewes carrying multiple lambs are kept indoors for the final stage of their pregnancy.
How did the farmer know which ewes qualified?
Surprise, surprise, by ultrasound scan – just like human mums.
Apparently experienced help is for hire to scan each ewe and determine how many lambs she carries, one, two or three.
More than one and it’s straight to the ovine maternity-ward, pens in a large, open-sided barn.
Despite the farmer and his helpers knowing so much about the ewes and the care they gave, when they entered the pens the sheep still bustled as far away as they could.
In all my life I have only come across one sheep that didn’t try to run away from a human.
She got good food staying close to motorists parking in a scenic view point atop the hills she lived on.
In the Middle East sheep don’t run away from their shepherds, unlike the British ones I’ve seen.
So when Jesus talked of his sheep knowing his voice and following him, he had in mind a local shepherd leading his flock.
Jesus described himself as the good shepherd and his people as his sheep.
The question is how we react to Jesus: do we run away like British sheep, or follow him?
Maybe this Spring’s new lambs can remind us how Jesus cares for us.
Listening to his voice in the Bible and following him are good options.
Tony Ford lives in Worthing and attends Grace Community Church