Walking on water – 10 August 2020

In this mosaic Jesus is walking across a stormy sea towards the disciples in a boat. Behind Jesus the sea is calm, but around the disciples all is in tumult. In response to the call of Jesus, Peter has set out across the waves, but in the midst of the storm he takes fright and sinks. Jesus here is holding him by the arm and lifting him, while chiding him for his lack of faith. The adoration of the disciples is shown though a low bow and outstretched arms. Jesus holds a scroll in his left hand representing the content of the faith Peter needs. The boat has no rudder and its sails are furled, signifying the apostles’ dependence on God as they travel.

Above the boat the Latin inscription says IHESUS SUPER MARE AMBULAT ET PETRUM MERGENTEM ALLEVAT, “Jesus walks on the sea and lifts up the sinking Peter.”


The image here is a 12th century mosaic from Monreale Cathedral, Palermo.



Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.
“It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said

Matthew 14:25-29


and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them
and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will
not come so grandly
so Biblically
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love
so that when
we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and everything confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don’t
because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years
you don’t want to any more
you’ve simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness
however fluid and however
dangerous to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

From: The Truelove by David Whyte