Overwhelming Water

Andrew's Story

It had been a long day, tiring but exciting. All the same it was a relief to set out for home that evening. Capernaum was only a short boat ride away.

Our rabbi had taken himself up the mountain. We were used to him going off on his own. He seemed to need it and the crowds had got rather threatening. We left him to it.

All was calm when we set sail. As darkness descended and the wind got up, the sea became really rough. So we hauled in the sails and rowed. We knew what we were doing. We're used to storms, but we didn't feel safe that night in such a small boat, thrown about by the great waves.


But it wasn't the waves that terrified us. What really scared us out of our wits was what we saw that night. You're not going to believe this, but 3 or 4 miles out from shore we saw Jesus walking on the sea, coming near our boat. It was as if he were riding the waves that threatened to overwhelm us. It sounds silly to say, but it was as if even the wind and waves were in awe of him.

What happened next should have been more scary, but somehow it wasn't. Mysterious and breath-taking, yes, but strangely calming. We heard Jesus say "I AM. Don't be afraid." We should have been afraid. "I AM" is God's name. Only God can say that. We should have fallen on our faces, but we were too busy stopping the boat crashing into the jetty, because immediately we'd reached land. Now how did that happen?

I was glad to get to bed. Before I fell asleep I found myself singing an old song of our people. I wonder why?
"When the waters saw you, O God, 
when the waters saw you, they were afraid; 
the very deep trembled. 
the clouds poured out water; 
the skies thundered; 
your arrows flashed on every side. 
the crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; 
your lightnings lit up the world; 
the earth trembled and shook. 
Your way was through the sea, 
your path, through the mighty waters; 
yet your footprints were unseen."
Psalm 77: 16-19

This post is the 10th in a series of Lenten reflections based on Bible readings from the Common Worship Lectionary of the Church of England. This one is based on John 6: 16-21.

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