Once when he was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret, the crowd was pushing in on him to better hear the Word of God. He noticed two boats tied up. The fishermen had just left them and were out scrubbing their nets. He climbed into the boat that was Simon's and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Sitting there, using the boat for a pulpit, he taught the crowd.
When he finished teaching, he said to Simon, "Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch."
Simon said, "Master, we've been fishing hard all night and haven't caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I'll let out the nets." It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch.
Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell to his knees before Jesus. "Master, leave. I'm a sinner and can't handle this holiness. Leave me to myself." When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him. It was the same with James and John, Zebedee's sons, coworkers with Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, "There is nothing to fear. From now on you'll be fishing for men and women." They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him.
Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Peter had been too afraid to push out into the deep water?
Many of us give old Pete a rough time. He is a good foil in sermons because he so often says the things we are afraid to say. Peter may have his issues but he certainly was not afraid. He shows over and over again a willingness to “put out into deep water.”
Often, I’m not that way. There are times when I definitely find myself living in a state of fear. I know “what’s going to happen.” I know that I’ve already fished that area, so to speak, and if I’m honest with myself, I’m afraid to head back to the deep water.
I wonder how often Jesus is beckoning us into the deep water and we are too afraid to go?
When we hold back from fear of the deep water we miss out on the good fishing. But, notice that the real thing isn’t the fish, it is the recognition of the holy. What left Peter and the boys in awe was the unveiling of the mystery of the holy before their eyes.
The moment that we move to deep water we open ourselves to the mystery of the holy.
Abraham had to leave home to a land God would show him.
Moses had to leave home to find himself on holy ground.
Elijah had to hear a still small voice.
Job had to face the whirlwind.
Jesus had to overcome death.
We will, all of us, be called to our own experience of the deep water. Will we hear the call?
What deep water are you being called to in this season of your life?
The deep water that I’m finding myself in is learning how to be quiet. I am learning how to choose to listen instead of speak in every situation. I am learning how not to fight back but simply seek to come to a place of mutual submission. At the heart of this, I am learning that God is indeed sovereign and good and that I can trust this reality.
I am treading hard in the deep water. It’s exhausting but I think in the end it will be worth it.