How the Sea Became a Floor
by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut
ON THE night after the multitude was fed with the five loaves, while Jesus was praying alone on the mountain, his disciples were rowing over the lake toward Capernaum. It was very dark; and soon after midnight a terrible storm arose, as storms often come very suddenly upon the Sea of Galilee. From his mountain top, through all the darkness and miles away, Jesus could see them struggling with the waves, and in great danger of losing their lives, for he could see all things.
While the disciples were pulling hard with their oars, suddenly they saw someone walking upon the waves and drawing near their boat. They were more alarmed, when they saw this form walking over the waves as though the waters were a solid floor, than they had been at the storm threatening to swallow them up, for they thought that surely this was a spirit from the world of the dead, coming to give warning that death was awaiting them. They cried out in their terror; but soon heard a voice speaking to them above the roaring of the wind and the dashing of the waves; a voice which they knew well. It was the voice of Jesus, saying:
"Be of good cheer! it is I; do not be afraid!"
Then they knew that it was no spirit or ghost from the grave, but their own Lord and Saviour coming to help them. What a load of fear was lifted from them when they heard that voice!
But one of the disciples, one who was always putting himself in the front, thought that if Jesus could walk on the water, he would like to do the same. You would know that this one was Simon Peter, a good man, but very quick in his impulses. He cried out, as Jesus drew near,
"Lord, if it is really you, command me to come to you on the water."
And the Lord said, "Come."
Then Peter leaped overboard from the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But after a few steps on the sea, he saw how heavy the storm was, and was afraid; and at that moment he began to sink. He shouted out,
"Lord, save me!"
Jesus reached out his hand and caught him and kept him from sinking, saying to him:
"How little you trust me! Why did you doubt my word?"
When Jesus, holding Peter's hand, came with him into the boat, the wind stopped, and the sea became calm. They found that they were close to the land. Then all the men in the boat fell down at the feet of Jesus and said,
"Truly you are the Son of God!"
Soon the daylight came, and they saw that their boat was beside a plain, reaching into the lake, a few miles south of Capernaum, called the land of Gennesaret. They went ashore and drew up their boat on the beach. The people of that place knew Jesus, for many of them had heard him in Capernaum. They were glad to have him come to their land; and sent word through all the plain that Jesus, the great teacher and healer, had landed on their shore.
From all the country around they brought on their beds those that were sick, and laid them before Jesus, begging him to cure them. Many came near his side, and asked him if they might only touch the border of the mantle which he wore; and all who touched it were made perfectly well, so strong was their faith in Jesus.