I’ve spent the last several days near the water and on numerous boats. I used to think I was funny when I said I was most like Jesus when I was on, but not in, the water. But the past few days I have pondered the mystery of the water’s edge.

For some reason, sitting out and admiring the view of the lake (we’re fortunate to frequent two lakes regularly) has a calming effect. Everyone gravitates to the patio, looking out over the water. We remark about it’s beauty, we make statements about it’s tranquility. At Indian Lake we live in a section that the water is a No Wake Zone and people become flamboyant about letting others know when a white ripple escapes the motor. The practical folk liken it to the damage to the sea wall, but I know better. All the waves disrupt the calming effect. 
What is it about the water’s edge? My mother-in-law has tried corralling my bigs away from the edge, trying her darndest to convince them the porch is just as fun. But the swing overlooking the ledge always wins. And none of us are huge swimmers – it’s not the recreational value. Nor do we feel the same sitting poolside. The chlorinated version simply doesn’t cut it. 
As usual, I began to think theologically about it. Jesus spent a lot of time on the water’s edge, either preaching (by boat, no less) or, more famously, walking upon it. He even chose fishermen, Men of the Water, as his primary followers. 
I thought back to my Hebrew class, when I memorized Genesis 1:1. As usual with language, the English version just doesn’t capture the essence of what is being said. In the verse lies a phrase – apologies for the horrible transliteration – “toe voo vah bo hoo” (sorry Dr. Overland!). We translate that monster of a phrase into “waters”. But water has its own word – mayim. So the phrase in Genesis contains more depth. 
The TVVBH, from my recollection, seems to indicate “the depths”. It carried with it other ideas, this essence of chaos. Apparently the scene of Jesus walking of water wasn’t just amazing because of the physical feat, but when the disciples exclaimed “even the winds and waves obey him!” they indicated the common understanding that the waters, the depths, were the realm of the uncontrollable. Storms could blow up out of nowhere. The fisherman lifestyle meant danger and the unknown. The TVVBH domain was outside the controlled and controllable. Only God could (and can) change the weather. 
So, back to the original question, now much more confusing: why do we feel calmed sitting at the edge of the water? Why do the unknown and uncontrolled depths bring us a sense of peace? 
I’m wondering if it’s not so much the water, but the edge, that we’re drawn toward. We sense the chaos that could loom near but we realize our feet stand firm on the ground. While we sit so close to chaos, we rest upon creation. The ordered. If the storm were to arise, we’re gratefully not in a boat that would easily capsize. We’re not at the mercy of the unknown, but rather resting on the rocks of Everlasting to Everlasting. 
Right now, as I enjoy my lakes so much, a group of pastors and clergy gather also at the edge of a (much larger!) lake to conference and connect. For many they seek refreshment and encouragement. But as a group, they come together to be empowered to back to their posts and live out a calling and a mission. Part of me finds it so fitting that they meet at the side of a lake. Because what is kingdom living, really, but putting into order the chaos of life? What is ministry, more than helping others rightly order their lives around the Rock that will not be shifted? 
On Jordan’s stormy banks I Stand
On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land 
Where my possessions lie

All o’rer those wide extended plains 
Shines one eternal day
There God, the Son forever reigns 
And scatters night away

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promise Land
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promise Land

No chilling wind nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore
Where sicness, sorrow, pain and death
Are felt and feared no more

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promise Land
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promise Land

When shall I see that happy place
And be forever blessed
When shall I see my Father’s face
And in His bosom rest

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promise Land
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promise Land
(Text by Samuel Stennett, 1727-1795)
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