4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”’
The first directive Jesus gave to Peter was “put out into deep water”. The word deep in Greek is bathos, which means depth; deep water; met: fullness, immensity; an extreme degree; profundities, deep-laid plans. Jesus wanted Peter to go beyond the shallow end. Peter responded the way most of us do, he had already tried and it didn’t work but he was willing to try again because the Lord told him to. Jesus wanted to illustrate his authority to Peter through a symbolism that Peter understood intimately.
When we approach Christianity on the surface we are often disappointed with the lack that we receive in return. No relationship has ever thrived through a surface level, shallow connection. Jesus calls us to go deeper. To trust him in the face of the unknown or in times of uncertainty when it looks like things just won’t work out. If we are bold enough to trust him and his direction we can experience a fullness that we never realized was possible.
God calls us to know him. To truly know him we must dive deep. We must create space for intimacy and allow God into our “darkness”, into our brokenness and confusion. That level of raw authenticity opens up a dialogue that fosters an unshakable connection. We learn to trust when we cling to him in desperation during our times of weakness and fear. We are called to seek him like water in a desert. Truly longing for more of him and less of us.
If we read on in this passage we can see that once Peter experienced an overflow he had to call in others to help. Jesus wraps this up by telling Peter, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” As we dive deep into the spirit of the great I am, it overflows to those around us. We don’t draw others to Christ through our good deeds or how fancy we pray or even how many scriptures we know. We don’t lead others to Christ by pointing out their sin and telling them how wrong they are. We point them to salvation through an overflow of the spirit as we delve into the depths of God’s presence.