Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him. Luke 5:1-11
I have spent my life by the ocean and love being on the water. I am not afraid of deep water, as I barely remember learning to swim and am often most comfortable in the water. Deep waters can be very dangerous, though, even for the most experienced sailors, swimmers and fishing folk. A storm can arise and destroy boats and lives. Deep water means losing sight of the shore, too far to be rescued quickly, too dangerous to traverse unless skilled and practiced.
Jesus found himself among the folks who make their living by the sea, the rough and skilled folks who fish for a living. They know their seas and the seasons, they watch the skies and the weather indicators. Jesus, obviously not a seaman, tells them to go out into deep water and put down their nets. They've been unsuccessful and are frustrated. The last thing they need is for someone who knows nothing to tell them what to do. And yet, that is where God meets us, in the midst of our worst frustration and exhaustion, inviting us to go into deep water by faith.
Today I ask God to help me go into deep waters and cast my nets again. May we not give up on love or faith because of our failures, but renew our efforts to wait upon the Lord and live.