Second Thoughts, On the Water

Have you ever walked on water? What happened when Peter did? And what do we learn from his steps?

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matt. 14:30-33).

I do not believe that I would have behaved, believed, or fumbled about any differently than our apostles presence of Yeshua, face to face. It seems arrogant to believe that if any of us had been alive, and then called by Him, that we would have achieved some measure of understanding missed by the original twelve apostles.

Just prior to Peter walking on water, the apostles witnessed the feeding of the 5,000. Yeshua/Jesus then sent them ahead, to cross the Sea of Galilee as a storm begins to churn the waters. When Yeshua sends them ahead, it’s as if He is saying, “You go ahead, I’ll catch up,” but they were not considering just how He would meet them.

Then, at the 4th watch – 3am to 6am – Yeshua comes walking upon the sea. Hours earlier the disciples took part in distributing food and gathering the leftovers from the masses of people Jesus fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Now, seeing Yeshua walking upon the water, they assume it is His ghost, in order words, He is dead.

In Matthew 14:27, Yeshua says, “Take courage, it’s Me. Do not be afraid.” What is He saying? Literally, “Comfort. εἰμί/eimi, I Am. Do not fear.” Yeshua the Comforter of Isaiah 40:1, He is alive, not dead; so what do we have to fear?

Peter brashly tests Yeshua, “If it really is you, command me to come to You on the water.” The Greek in Matthew 14:29 is more picturesque than is depicted in English, at the command of Yeshua he climbed out of the boat, he did not just get out, it took a moment, there was hesitation.

He steps on to the water.

The “I Am” having commanded Peter, did for Peter, just what He had done for the children of Israel at the Red Sea (Ex. 15:8), as the waters congealed and allowed Israel to walk through their midst on dry ground. Now, Peter steps upon waters congealing beneath his feet as he walks to Yeshua.

Peter, stepping out and taking more steps on water than any of us, before or since, sees the circumstance that he has stepped into, no longer in the relative safety of the boat that he knows how to expertly control, he looks away from Yeshua, and His command, and begins to sink. He calls out the shortest and most to the point prayer, “Lord, save me!” Anything more than this, and he would have been gargling.

Yeshua immediately reaches out, pulls him up, rescues him, then corrects, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

“O you of little faith,” ὀλιγόπιστος/oligopistos, “little faith,” meaning “short duration faith.” “Could you only believe for such a short time?”

Yeshua gets to the heart of the matter, “why did you doubt?” Doubt: διστάζω/distazō, doubt, meaning to “duplicate.” Yeshua is asking, “Why did you second guess?” This is the same word in Matthew 28:17, when the disciples saw Yeshua on the mountain in the Galilee, worshipped Him, but second guessed, doubted, the resurrection – “Is He really standing here?”

In this miraculous scene, as Yeshua rescues Peter, there is no fiery chariot of Elijah, or angels swooping in to take them back to the boat: they walked. Getting back into the boat, the winds ceased.

Yeshua, with the storm coming, sent them ahead knowing that once they saw Him, Peter would attempt to rush boldly into the circumstance, only to be frightened by it, and need His rescue. He knows us, as He is the Good Shepherd.

Peter sank because once out in the elements of life, outside of his control, the winds pressed in on him, the waves soaked him, and Yeshua seemed much further away.

The Lord called Peter, and us, to Himself, not the circumstance. Not to the wind and the waves. Not to the choppy waters of life, but to Himself. Yet, we will not overcome this world unless we sink a little, and learn to cry out, “Lord save me!”

Peter had faith to step out of the boat, onto the water, but it was short lived because he second guessed the call and command of Yeshua. He began to rethink the boat, the storm, and the Lord standing upon water. Yeshua never calls us to the storm, or the unknown, but to Himself. At times, we must go through the storm, the wind and the waves, into the unknown in order to reach Him. Nevertheless, He is always the direction and destination.

Do not second guess His call. Do not second guess the call of the I AM. Go to Him in the midst of the storm and the circumstance, seeing that He has done and will continue to do the impossible.

Peter’s faith was short in duration, because he rethought the Word of God. Even then, the Lord rescued him when he cried out, “Lord, save me!” A short, concise, prayer resulting in the nail scarred hand of the Messiah reaching directly to where we are calling to Him.

Be well. Shalom.

In the Water and the Bread

In the Water and the Bread

Joseph is freed from Egyptian bondage after Pharaoh has two disturbing dreams that are unable to be interpreted by Egyptian magicians (41:1-8). The cupbearer, having forgotten about young Joseph, is reminded of the interpretative aid provided by a young Hebrew (Gen. 41:12).

Joseph is then removed from prison. Washed, shaved, and placed in clothing appropriate to an audience with Pharaoh, Joseph says that “God will answer with peace for Pharaoh” (Gen. 41:16).

Both dreams of Pharaoh open in the same manner, “Behold, there he (Pharaoh) was standing by the Nile” (Gen. 41:1). The Nile was of such importance to Egyptian society that the ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote, ”Egypt was the gift of the Nile.” Meaning, that without the Nile, Egypt would likely not have be founded, or become the seat of power it was in the ancient world.

Still, there is another way of reading Genesis 41:1, revealing how Pharaoh viewed himself, and why the dreams were so disturbing to him. Genesis 41:1 can also be read:

וְהִנֵּה עֹמֵד עַל-הַיְאֹר

“Behold, there he (Pharaoh) was standing on (upon) the Nile.”

Some of the sages point out that the Hebrew preposition עַל/al is commonly used as a word to indicate location. To the Egyptians, the Nile was a gift from the gods; and with its annual deposits of nutrient rich silt, it was equated with life itself as the bringer of bread. The Egyptian god Hapi was believed to control this annual flood, and in some eras was considered the “father of the gods.” Yet, who stood upon (עֹמֵד עַל) the Nile in Pharaoh’s dream but Pharaoh himself. Pharaoh believed that he was the god of gods, the god of the Nile, and the god of life. Nevertheless, Pharaoh, as the god of gods, was unable to understand or control this impending doom.

Standing on (upon) the Nile he was powerless to control it, he could not stop the coming famine, as his sovereign divinity was the thing of dreams. How would people respond to such a lack in their god when the bread and the water ran out?

In the Gospels, we read the testimony of Yeshua/Jesus feeding 4000 and 5000 (+) people, the multiplied miracle of bread. In John 6:16-21, in the evening after Yeshua fed 5000, He withdrew to pray (Jn. 6:15), while the disciples departed by boat to Capernaum. As John writes, a great wind began to blow, creating rough seas (Jn. 6:18). They rowed against the wind and the waves. As they labored on in their journey, the see Yeshua approaching the boat, “walking on the sea” (Jn. 6:19).

Terrified by His appearance, he says, “I am. Do not be afraid” (Jn. 6:20). Here we see the fullness of the Godhead bodily, the I Am, walking upon the water, and as Mark writes, “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm” (4:39). Jesus could not only walk upon the water, but He controlled the wind and the seas themselves.

Unlike Pharaoh, who stood upon the Nile in his dreams, but was powerless to control it, Yeshua walked upon, rescued Peter, and was able to calm the turbulent water. Not in a dream, but in creation itself. When the bread ran out, He increased it. When water was needed, He promised to be its supply (Jn. 7:37-39).

After the interpretation of his dream by Joseph, Pharaoh renames Joseph צָפְנַת פַּעְנֵחַ/Zaphenath-paneah, a name whose meaning has been subject of great speculation. Several scholars, even some sages, have speculated that Joseph’s Egyptian name could be rendered: he who is called Anakh, he who is called life, or the breath of life.

Joseph is just one of the many typological figures of Yeshua/Jesus in the Hebrew Scriptures, and when the false god Pharaoh was powerless to save his people, he beholds a young Hebrew boy who: was loved by his father, and clothed by him; sent to his brethren who hated, envied, and mocked him; conspired against him, stripped him, and ultimately handed him over to gentiles. He was placed in a pit, but rises; he is placed in prison, counted among the sinners, but he is raised from the dungeon to the king’s house. He ruled, prepared, fed, delivered, ultimately he was revealed, and restored to his brethren.

And when Pharaoh looked upon Joseph he said: “he who is called life.” Pharaoh inadvertently admitted that he was not the god of gods, the god of the Nile, or the god of life. No, there was another, someone greater.

Dear reader, in Joseph we see a typological figure of Messiah. In Pharaoh, a typological figure of false gods and idols. Pharaoh looked upon the Hebrew youth, and saw a life. We look upon the One Joseph pointed to, and see: The Life.

Upon your turbulence, and into your lack, He is the supply, because He is the life (Jn. 14:6; cf. Phil. 4:19).

Be well. Shalom. Hanukkah Sameach.

Water: Provision Before the Strife

The unusual command of the Red Heifer (Numbers 19) is immediately followed by the tragic events of the death of both Miriam and Aaron. Sandwiched between these two moments of national mourning is the disqualification of Moses from leading Israel into the Promised Land.

I’ve taught in great detail on the incident recorded in Numbers 20:1-13, known as the incident at the waters of Meribah (20:13), the waters of strife.

The water had ceased flowing; and the rabbis connect this to the death of Miriam. The people panic. Moses, knowing that the Lord will provide water, does not panic, but scolds and responds bitterly, as we read in Psalm 106:32-33 , “And they provoked wrath at the waters of Meribah and Moses suffered on account of them; because they embittered his spirit, and he spoke rashly with his lips.”

This incident is a lesson for those being led, and those leading: 1) don’t panic, and 2) don’t be reactionary.


Just prior to the incidents described in Numbers 20, the Lord gives the suprarational command of the Red Heifer. While that is a subject too broad for this blurb, this command depends not only on the ashes of a Red Heifer, but also water.

In order to fulfill this command there would need to be fresh water in the camp, and the Lord knows this. He will provide.

Israel panicked. Moses reacted, bitterly. Yet, the Lord still provided (Num. 20:11).

How often when we find a lack somewhere in our lives, do we panic or begin to explore our own means of provision; or we react bitterly to the need, due to years of strife and struggle? In those moments, turn to the Word of God. His promise. And read what He has said.

He had just commanded the unusual, suprarational command of the Red Heifer (Num. 19), a key component of which is fresh water. At times we forget what He has commanded in the face of need, not recognizing that in the command there is also the supply necessary to do it, and to do life.

Water would flow, they just had to ask. Life would be restored. They just had to trust.

It is a blessing to know that even when we respond in a less than graceful manner, even in our frustration, that He will still provide.

Meditation: Psalm 1:1; Philippians 4:19; James 4:1-3.