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What do we know about the shepherd's life? It's a full time commitment. Sheep are helpless to defend themselves against attack from their natural enemies: lions, bears, wolves, hyenas and foxes which can come in both the day and night so there is never a moment a shepherd can relax. Sheep must be led to green grass and cool water, groomed when they get parasites in their nose and eyes and leeches in their throats from the water. Sheep must always be on the move because if not, they will overgraze the hill. Water is critical for sheep. In Israel's semi arid land, shepherds must dig cisterns in the soft limestone by dry riverbeds called wadis to catch the water from flash floods during the rainy season. These are usually 15 x 10 foot wide and need to be plastered to be able to hold water. A small rock dam must be built to direct some of the floodwaters into the cistern, which will hold water for several months until the summer heat evaporates it. Shepherds will use the water in ponds and lagoons first to save the water in the cisterns for later in the year. And here's the thing about sheep: they have no idea how much work the shepherd does to keep them safe.

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