When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so I will let down the nets.” (Luke 5:4-5)
It was a nice idea that came along at the wrong time. Jesus had just finished teaching, using Simon’s boat as a makeshift lectern. Now that the lesson had ended Jesus wanted to go out and do some fishing. The problem was Simon & Co. had already been doing that all night long. They were tired. And what’s more they knew there was nothing out there to catch.
Peter didn’t think Jesus’ plan to head back out to those deep waters was such a good idea. Peter knew those waters the way a pitcher knows a baseball diamond. He could sense movement, knew where the play would be made, knew exactly where to cast the net, how to throw the next pitch. Peter knew what was out there, and in his mind he knew more about it than Jesus did. Fishing with Jesus was a nice idea, but a waste of time. Fundamentally, this was a matter of trust.
When Jesus asks us to “put out into deep water” he asks us to go back to a place we’ve been time after time. The deep waters are familiar territory. We’re sure we know what’s there. We’re sure we know what not there too.
The deep waters are where our expectations have shriveled, where we simply go through the motions, where nothing seems to be happening.
Some deep waters are relational. Old arguments that never seem to get resolved, painful memories that won’t heal, acts of love never reciprocated. We stop going there – until Jesus shows up and invites us to put out into those deep waters again.
Some deep waters are professional. We can go to the same job every day and get nothing from it except a paycheck. We can search for work day after day and bring the net up empty time after time.
Peter sailed back out to those deep waters weary and certain of catching nothing. What he failed to grasp was that this time Jesus was guiding the expedition. The catch was enormous. Jesus knows exactly what is in those deep waters. Jesus understands fishing. Jesus understands organic chemistry. Jesus understands your work. Jesus understands your family. Jesus can be trusted with anything and everything that concerns your life.
Dallas Willard has been quoted as saying that we cannot say that Jesus is Lord unless we can also affirm that Jesus is smart. The question for us is will we trust him. Do we trust Jesus enough to put out into deep waters, confident that he knows more about that place than we do?
Lord Jesus, teach us to trust you. Remind us daily that there’s nothing about our lives that baffles you, that you understand completely all that concerns us. Today and every day we will go with you to the familiar deep waters, safe in the knowledge that you are with us in all things. Amen.