How would you answer the question, “What are you really afraid of?” Diving deeper than the typical answer of “swimming with sharks”, I’ll mention what I’m no longer afraid of. I used to be afraid of making public presentations or speaking in front of crowds of people.
I was shocked to discover what Jews are afraid of. From the ROCK, the ROAD, and the RABBI, Kathie Lee Gifford shares what she learned from her visits to the Holy Land, and listening to tour guide, Ray Vander Laan:
“One of the things that struck me the first time I visited the Sea of Galilee was how few boats were out on the water and how few buildings were along the magnificent coastline. I asked Ray about this, and he laughed. “Well, historically, Jews hate the water.” “What?” I exclaimed. “But it’s gorgeous! And it’s prime real estate.” “Not to Jews. Think about it. All kinds of bad things happened on water. Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days. Noah and the flood. Storms always came upon the Sea of Galilee. Jews are afraid of what the water represents—the chaos!”
Interesting. Fear can eat you alive if you let it. Anxiety loves to swim with fear. One feeds the other. Kathie Lee continues sharing her wisdom:
“Imagine how the disciples must have felt when Jesus told them to “go over to the other side of the lake.” Most of the disciples had spent their entire lives in the Galilee region. They had fished in the Sea of Galilee, even making their living as fishermen. They knew better than anyone the perils of this body of water.”
Luke details what happened next:
“As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. The disciples went and woke Him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” (8: 23-24a, NLT)
Gifford explains why Jesus went to the other side:
“Jesus calmed the storm, but the worst was yet to come! When they arrived at the shore, immediately a demon-possessed, naked, violent, bloody-from cutting-himself man came screaming at them from the tombs! This man was the picture of death, except he wasn’t dead. It had to be terrifying to the disciples. But not to Jesus. He was the only one who got out of the boat.”
Ray, the tour guide, plunges deeper:
“Ray concluded his teaching of this story by reminding us that at the end of the gospel of Mark, we see Jesus exchanging places with this man on the cross. Now Jesus was the one who was naked, crying out, bloodied, and driven into the tomb. This is how we are made whole-Jesus exchanges His life for ours. His cleanness for our uncleanness. He defeats evil by absorbing evil into Himself.”
Why not grab Jesus’ hand (in faith) as He walks on the water above your fears?