You have been walking the water’s edge, holding up your robes to keep them dry. You must dive naked under, deeper, under a thousand times deeper. Love flows down. — Rumi
People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle. — Thich Nhat Hanh
See if you recognize yourself in this story: Because maybe some of us are like the ones in the boat who are afraid. Maybe you are so caught up in the fear of making the wrong decision that you can’t make any decision at all. Or maybe you are like the one experiencing the thrill of stepping into the unknown … and maybe the first few steps are ok but then it gets scary. Or maybe you or the person next to you is the one who is sinking … or maybe you feel like you’re sinking because what you could handle last month you just can’t handle now. Or maybe you’re the one who knows you’re doomed, knows that all your own efforts have failed and you are crying out to God to save you and you’re the ones who Jesus has reached down to catch and you’re clinging on to the sweet hand of Jesus with all you’ve got. or maybe you’re the one in the boat looking in wonder all you’ve just seen… you’re the one who bears witness to the miracle and danger of it all and how the hand of God reaches down and pulls us up and you see it and can’t help but say “truly this is God.” At some point or other I know I have been all of the above. — Nadia Bolz-Weber
Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. — Bruce Lee
Don’t you realize that the sea is the home of water? All water is off on a journey unless it’s in the sea, and it’s homesick, and bound to make its way home someday. — Zora Neale Hurston
Songs about ‘Walking on Water’:
- Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United (Christian)
- Walking on Water by Eminem with Beyonce (rap)
- Calm on the Water by Dolly Parton (country/Christian)
- Walk Across the Water by The Black Keys (rock)
- Calm the Waters by Watermark (Christian ballad)
- If I Could Walk on Water by Eddie Money (rock)
- Walking on Water by Need to Breathe (Christian rock)
- Walk on Water by Ozzy Osbourne (rock)
- Walk on Water by Elevation Rhythm (Christian rock)
- Walk on Water by Thirty Seconds to Mars (rock)
- I Walk on Water by Kaleo (Christian)
- Walk on Water by Britt Nicole (Christian pop)
Contemplative Water Audio Tracks:
- Ocean Waves (nature sounds relaxation/meditation/contemplation sound track)
- Calming Waters by Mindful (guided meditation)
Songs about ‘Needing You’:
- Baby I Need Your Loving by the Four Tops (rock)
- When I Need You cover by Rod Stewart (rock ballad)
- All You Need Is Love by The Beatles (rock)
- Everybody Needs Somebody to Love by Solomon Burke (rock)
- Everybody Needs Somebody to Love cover by The Blues Brothers (rock)
- I Need You by LeAnn Rimes (country)
- If I Needed You by Emmy Lou Harris & Don Williams (country)
- You Can’t Hurry Love by Phil Collins (rock)
- I Need You by Tim McGraw ft. Faith Hill (country)
- I Want You, I Need You, I Love You by Elvis Presley (rock)
- You Need Me, I Don’t You by Ed Sheeran (rock rap)
- Lord, I Need You and Love Like This by Lauren Daigle (Christian)
- To Love Somebody by Keith Urban (country)
- Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers (rock ballad)
- Need Someone by Mary Blige (rock ballad)
- All I Need Is a Miracle by Mike + The Mechanics (pop)
- Even If by Mercy Me (Christian)
- There Was Jesus by Zach Williams & Dolly Parton (country)
- I Need Your Love by Calvin Harris (pop)
Maybe — Mary Oliver
Sweet Jesus, talking
his melancholy madness,
stood up in the boat
and the sea lay down,
silky and sorry.
So everybody was saved
But you know how it is
the threshold—the uncles
the women walk away,
the young brother begins
to sharpen his knife.
Nobody knows what the soul is.
It comes and goes
like the wind over the water—
sometimes, for days,
you don’t think of it.
Maybe, after the sermon,
after the multitude was fed,
one or two of them felt
the soul slip forth
like a tremor of pure sunlight
that wants to swallow everything,
gripped their bones and left them
miserable and sleepy,
as they are now, forgetting
how the wind tore at the sails
before he rose and talked to it—
tender and luminous and demanding
as he always was—
a thousand times more frightening
than the killer storm.
The spirit is so near
that you can’t see it!
But reach for it…
don’t be a jar, full of water,
whose rim is always dry.
Don’t be the rider who gallops all night
and never sees the horse
that is beneath him.
Walking Water — Wyatt Townley
Inside us the ocean
sways like a cradle
in which we rock rock
and are drawn like the tide
to the moon twice a day
we carry our water and it carries us
we are a good pail with legs
foot by foot on the turning
mountain of the world
water walking on the prairie
walking water on the road
up the stairs through a door
where the view rushes out of us
through the window to the woods
rushing water in the desert
rushing water in this chair
and that one you’re in
and what is solid is not at all
what we thought the rock
worn away by the rocking
Resources to understand the setting of the Gospel of John:
- Stan Duncan’s Biblical scholarship: https://homebynow.blogspot.com/2015/07/so-what-did-do-on-that-mountain-feeding.html
- Biblical scholarship by Ginger Barfield: https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/ordinary-17-2/commentary-on-john-61-21
- Biblical commentary by George Ewart: https://www.holytextures.com/2009/07/john-6-1-21-year-b-pentecost-july-24-july-30-sermon.html
…water is one of those symbols that shows up over and over again in the Bible. Richard Rohr says it’s a bookmark: that whenever you see the word “water”, you know that it signals an invitation from God, a sign of an opening into a spiritual experience. Baptism, the Israelites crossing through the Red Sea into freedom. — Kathleen McShane (full article)
We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste this minute of eternity.
We are pain and what cures pain both.
We are the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.
To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. — Alan Watts
The water is your friend. You don’t have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move. — Aleksandr Popov
Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water. — Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
WALKING on WATER REFLECTIONS
We didn’t build our bridges simply to avoid walking on water. Nothing so obvious. A bridge is a meeting place. A neutral place. A casual place. Enemies will choose to meet on a bridge and end their quarrel in that void… For lovers, a bridge is a possibility, a metaphor of their chances. And for the traffic in whispered goods, where else but a bridge in the night? — Jeanette Winterson
To walk on water, we need reliable guides. — Robert Vande Kappelle
In God’s eyes, walking on water is no more miraculous than the ability of hemoglobin to bond with oxygen inside a red blood corpuscle. — Deepak Chopra
You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help? — Mark Twain
Walking on water wasn’t built in a day. — Jack Kerouac
For as the heavens reach beyond earth and time, we swim in mercy as in an endless sea. — Psalms
Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend. — Albert Camus
There’s high, and there’s high, and to get really high–I mean so high that you can walk on the water, that high–that’s where I’m goin’. — George Harrison
A Word from Jesus calms the sea,
The stormy wind controls;
And gives repose and liberty
To tempest-tossed souls.
To Peter on the waves he came,
And gave him instant peace;
Thus he to me revealed his name,
And bid my sorrows cease. Then filled with wonder, joy and love,
Peter’s request was mine;
Lord, call me down, I long to prove
That I am wholly thine.
Unmoved at all I have to meet
On life’s tempestuous sea;
Hard, shall be easy; bitter, sweet,
So I may follow thee. He heard and smiled, and bid me try,
I eagerly obeyed;
But when from him I turned my eye,
How was my soul dismayed!
The storm increased on every side,
I felt my spirit shrink;
And soon, with Peter, loud I cried,
Lord, save me, or I sink.
Kindly he caught me by the hand,
And said, Why dost thou fear?
Since thou art come at my command,
And I am always near.
Upon my promise rest thy hope,
And keep my love in view;
I stand engaged to hold thee up,
And guide thee safely through.
— John Newton
COMMENTARY on WALKING on WATER (referring to multiple Gospel versions of this story)
It’s been said that if you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat. Sometimes getting out of the boat looks like showing up for another recovery meeting. Sometimes it looks like filling out hospital paperwork for an elderly neighbor. Sometimes it looks like making a casserole for the family down with the flu or offering free babysitting for the friend with a job interview. Sometimes it looks like jumping when it matters. What does “getting out of the boat” look like for you? What does it mean to “jump when it matters”? — Rachel Held-Evans
But all these characters in the walking on water story – the cautious ones in the boat, the brave one who walked for a time on water, the same one who is afraid and sinks and calls for help, and the ones who saw it all and confessed that Jesus is the son of God they are all actually equal in their relationship to
God because…all of these and you have one thing in common: they are those whom Jesus draws near saying “it is I, do not be afraid”. … But what happens on either side of his short little water walk? … In the storm Jesus is walking toward the boat … Jesus is reaching … he comes so much toward them all that finally he just gets in the damn boat. That’s about as with them as he can be. … the whole story is about how much Jesus walks toward them, reaches toward them, and then even gets in the boat with them. — Nadia Bolz-Weber (full sermon)
God is always calling on us to do the impossible. It helps me to remember that anything Jesus did during his life here on earth is something we should be able to do, too. … Sometimes I will sit on a sun-warmed rock to dry, and think of Peter walking across the water to meet Jesus. As long as he didn’t remember that we human beings have forgotten how to walk on water, he was able to do it. — Madeline L’Engle
This is not what I bargained for, not the way I pictured it all in my head as I prepared to step out of the boat … The waves no longer seem inviting — they are a bit scary and unwelcoming. The boat seems much warmer, stable, secure, and yes — safe. Faith in me reminds me that it’s all an illusion — all the trappings and walls and safeguards we wrap around ourselves are really just as flimsy as a wooden boat on a stormy sea and that walking on water with Jesus is — in a reality that I can’t fully see yet — actually safer… Now is not the time for me to make the pro/con list — in fact, that list may never work for a life of faith. Now is the time for me to keep my eyes on Jesus and refuse to look down. My feet are wet and cold and I keep glancing back to a boat I can no longer return to but I don’t know what lies ahead… When we obey in faith, there is often an in-between space called liminal space. This is the space after we take our big step of faith out of the boat and come ahead with Jesus and before He shows us what’s next. It’s the time between what was and the next chapter of our journey. It’s a transition phase where we no longer fit where we were but don’t yet fit where we’re going. It can feel barren or we can choose to harness that time. It’s a waiting room, a threshold as we embark on something new... This liminal space feels like I’m trying to walk on water in the middle of the night. It’s dark. There are no road signs or directions — only the faint persistent memory of how certain I was when I stepped out. I am aware that God is near but the wobbliness of the water beneath my feet feels so foreign that I wonder how this can be a safe place in God’s will.— Mary Gallagher (full article)
It is true that Jesus was already walking on water when Peter got out of the boat. But I am not that impressed by Jesus walking on water. I mean, he was God, after all. Of course, he could walk on water. But for Peter, it is different. He was a human being, like me. And I identify with Peter. He made a lot of mistakes. He sometimes misunderstood Jesus’ teachings. He argued with the other disciples about which one was the greatest. He wanted to build housing for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah on the sacred ground of the Mount of Transfiguration, completely misunderstanding the message that Moses and Elijah had brought. He tried to talk Jesus out of sacrificing his life and balked at Jesus’ offer to wash his feet. He fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus as about to be crucified and, when Jesus was arrested, Peter denied him three times. And when Jesus ordered him to walk on water, he did it trustingly for a while, then he became fearful and went under. Jesus had to “save” him. Yet Peter was the first disciple to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and the first to realize that the man walking on water through the storm that day was Jesus. He was the only disciple to get out of the boat and he did walk on water, even if he eventually succumbed to his doubts and started to sink. As a disciple, Peter followed Jesus wholeheartedly and was dismayed by the dumb things he sometimes did. I believe it was both because of his mistakes and his faithfulness that Jesus designated him as the Rock on which he would build his church… I love the story of Peter walking on water because it is about taking spiritual risks and about faith and hope and trust. I feel as if I have spent a lot of my life walking on water, spiritually, psychologically, and materially. Sometimes I have felt as if I was sinking, too.
I also love the story because it so dramatically captures the concept of liminal space. The word “liminal” comes from the Latin word for “threshold” and liminal space refers to an in-between or transitional condition in which one is “neither here nor there,” or, sometimes, both here and there. Peter has left the boat but has not arrived anywhere yet. He is in transition. He is in a liminal space. — Jacqueline Wallen (full article)