4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 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.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. Luke 5:4-6
“Put out into deep water” (v4) – In this account, why did Jesus tell the disciples to head for deep water? The answer is simple: That’s where the fish are!
The shallow waters (“a little from shore” – v3) were fine for a given purpose and season (“he sat down and taught the people from the boat.” V3). However, if it’s fish that Simon was after, then the “deep water” was where he needed to be.
Shallow waters are safe. One can stand on one’s own two feet. But as one wades further and deeper into the waters, there comes a point when one has to submit to the currents and swim.
As congregations, as Christian ministers we can continue to wade in the shallows, where we have the assurance of the grounding of our tools, techniques, our balance sheets and budgets – all very important and necessary. However, there comes a time, when we are challenged to wade into waters that are “ankle-deep” then “knee-deep”; then “waist-deep” until we reach a point where the waters are now “deep enough to swim in” (cf Ezekiel‟s vision – Ezek 47:12).
At such a point we have no choice but to surrender unreservedly to the current of God’s Holy Spirit, and follow His leading, and His calling. Are you perhaps standing at this point? Is the Master and Lord of the harvest, calling you in deeper?
The Greek word for “deep”, “βάθος”, also gives the idea of “mystery” or “unknown”.
Perhaps the venture, that which God asks of us, at times seems “mysterious” or “unknown”, but we cannot shy away. The same Christ, who calls us to “take the plunge” as it were, to step out of the boat of security/safety, says to us “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:2)