Sunday, April 21, 2013

Now we know how he did it

I think that one miracle in particular has become more famous than all the others, for the simple reason that almost everybody has tried to perform it, at one time or another... and nobody has ever succeeded unquestionably in repeating the accomplishment of Jesus. I'm referring, of course, to the marvelous story about Jesus walking on the surface of the waters of the Sea of Galilee.

It was now late and the boat was already well out on the water, while he was alone on the land. Somewhere between three and six in the morning, seeing them labouring at the oars against a head wind, he came towards them, walking on the lake. He was going to pass by them; but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw him and were terrified. But at once he spoke to them: 'Take heart! It is I; do not be afraid.'
— Mark 6:47-50
According to Matthew 14:28, Peter decided spontaneously to have a go at this feat, and it seemed to work for a few seconds. But his faith collapsed almost instantly, and he started to sink into the water.

Recently, a small team of determined athletes, equipped with special water-repellent running shoes (of a brand that I'm not allowed to name here, because of my sporting sponsors), succeeded brilliantly in racing some 20 meters across the surface of a lake.

But these courageous fellows haven't yet deciphered the great Jesus secret that consists of having sufficient pure faith in God to believe totally that He will hold the walker's body above the surface at all times, making it possible to stroll peacefully and fearlessly across the water.

There was a gigantic breakthrough recently when marine archaeologists discovered a massive ancient stone structure under the surface of the Sea of Galilee. Click here to see this fascinating story. A diagram from Shmuel Marco makes it clear at last, after two millennia of mystification, exactly how Jesus was able to carry out his trick.

At that time, the depth of the Sea of Galilee was slightly less than it is today, which meant that the tip of this huge but hidden stone "iceberg" lay just below the surface. So, Jesus—who had no doubt practiced this feat tirelessly, to get it right for the day of his celebrated demonstration—simply paddled around on a small more-or-less flat zone at the tip of the structure, creating the illusion that he was walking on the water.

Archaeologists say that they can't explain who might have built this underwater mound. Nor why and when it was erected. I'm surprised by the archaeologists' lack of imagination. To my mind, it's clear that Jesus himself had collected funds enabling him to employ a team of stonemasons to build this structure, for the sole purpose of performing his spectacular miracle. In nearby Egypt, various pharaohs had found the means of erecting far greater masses of stone, the pyramids, in order to promote their theories of an afterlife. Since miracles play such a fundamental role in Christianity, I find it perfectly plausible, indeed normal, that Jesus might have gone to the trouble of building his own relatively small tumulus. Besides, since it was underwater, it didn't have to be as fancy as the Egyptian models, because the whole idea was that nobody should see it.

The only authentic miracle in this rather shabby tale is the fact that, as far as we know, no fishing boats ever ran aground on this big pile of rocks.

No comments:

Post a Comment