Walking on water is one of the miracles that the Gospels attribute to Jesus. An account of the miracle appears in the Gospels of John of Matthew and of Mark . According to the Biblical narrative, Jesus sent the disciples in a boat, ahead of him, to Bethsaida, but when they were half way across the lake, Jesus walked over the lake and met them. The narrative states that the disciples were scared at first, thinking it was a ghost, but when Jesus revealed himself and got into the boat, they calmed down. According to Matthew, Peter was also able to walk on water, following Jesus's example.
Mark and John don't report this detail in their gospels, while at the same time they don't deny it.
Walking on water has subsequently become a colloquialism used when a seemingly impossible task is actually being managed.
In ancient Egyptian Mythology, the God Horus walked on water, and in ancient Greek Mythology the giant hunter and son of the gods Orion walked on water. Hindu, Buddhist , and Greek traditions have stories about characters walking on water.
An Egyptian story, told by another son named Bauefre, is set during the reign of Khufu's father Sneferu. ... one of the girls loses an amulet - ... The king laments this, and the chief lector folds aside the water to allow the retrieval of the amulet, then folds the water back. (This may be considered more closely equivalent to Moses's Parting of the Red Sea than to the Walking on Water.)
In the second volume of A Marginal Jew, subtitled Mentor, Message, and Miracles, John P. Meier individually examines all the miracle stories in the gospels to determine if, behind them, lay a historical kernel. He argues that the walking on water miracle is true theological narrative but not a historical story. The oral tradition, he finds, is embedded with Old Testament types (the declaration of Jesus 'I AM' is consonant with the early church view of him as Yahweh) and post-resurrection perceptions.
In particular, the narrative of the story seems to fall into the genre of apocalyptic (which is not to say eschatological; apocalyptic is here defined as a genre characterized by heavy symbolism and light-dark contrasts). Jesus first herds the disciples into a boat and casts them off alone; he then goes up to a mountain to pray, promising them he will meet them on the other side of the sea. The apostles have difficulty reaching the other shore, but then Jesus appears and all is well. As in the resurrection accounts, the disciples see him as a ghost before recognizing him. This is a metaphor, Meier asserts, for the early post-Easter church. Jesus leaves his disciples in the ascension while promising a return, but occasionally visits them in mid-journey to sustain them (through the Eucharist). As with all apocalyptic literature, it is meant to comfort a beleaguered community.
In August 2006 an African Evangelist Franck Kabele drowned trying to emulate Jesus near Libreville, Gabon
. According to an eyewitness: "He told churchgoers he'd had a revelation that if he had enough faith, he could walk on water like Jesus...He took his congregation to the beach saying he would walk across the Komo River
estuary...He walked into the water, which soon passed over his head and he never came back."
Cultural references and trivia
Besides biblical references, the ability to walk on water is often present in fiction in a manner designed to draw high degrees of awe.
- In the music video for "Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors" by Editors, appears a girl that walks on water.
- In the film Ever After, actor Patrick Godfrey in the role of Leonardo da Vinci walks on water in clog-like shoes, startling Cinderella character Danielle De Barbarac (Drew Barrymore) as she is swimming.
- In comic book fiction, the Flash runs at high speeds sufficient to keep afloat on water. This is also parodied by Dash of the Incredibles. Rev Runner of the Loonatics adaptation by Warner Brothers has also done this, as a parody of the Flash.
- In the manga and anime Naruto, advanced ninja characters use chakra control in the feet to be able to stand, run on, and bear weight on water.
- In episode 23 of the anime Sonic X, Sonic is able to run fast enough to clear the polluted mud out of a shallow Chao stream, creating a vortex which parts the waters like the eye of a storm. In episode 24 when driven berserk by a computer chip in his ear, after falling into a deep lake, he is able to ascend to the top, running across the water to land, bringing a fish with him. This is important because in the first episode, he was going to drown in the bottom of a swimming pool because he could not float or swim and could not go fast enough to create an ascension vortex, meaning he must have improved or the chip makes him faster than he is normally able (though probably not to the levels he can attain using a power ring or chaos emerald. He cannot do this in the games or movie.
- In the movie Remo Williams the master runs across the water at the end of the movie.
- In the Chinese wuxia martial arts genre, some warriors may be able to fly or jump with the aid of the water's surface. This is never explained by other than the depth of their training.
- In the 1980's, André Kole, the innovatve illusionist who tours on behalf of Campus Crusade for Christ, created the illusion of walking (actually standing) on water live on stage. The presentation involved a large, open, transparent tank partly full of water. Stirring the water randomly with a stick showed it to be free of invisible supports. Kole stepped into the tank, where he was seemingly supported on the surface of the water, continuing to stir the water between and around his feet. As more water poured into the tank, Kole rose about 14" with the rising water level. Kole devised and presented this illusion to demonstrate that even on a small scale, apparatus and staging was required that could not have existed in Christ's time. Therefore, by Kole's logic, Christ's miracle was genuine.
- In the television show Criss Angel Mindfreak, the title magician performed an illusion in which he walked across the full length of a swimming pool in front of an audience, with spectators actually swimming around and under him (and even between his legs; he also kicked off his shoes midway) during the stunt. However, according to eyewitnesses, he was walking on transparent perspex struts; also no one is seen swimming behind or in front of him, or where he had previously placed his feet.... correction: two girls walked in front of him during the stunt before it was finished
- Rumor has it, On March 18, 2007, YouTube magician Anthony Bass walked on the water of the Lewisville Lake in Little Elm, Texas as a publicity stunt and promotion of his abilities.
- In the video game Final Fantasy X the summoner (Yuna) walks on water in Kilika while she performs the sending.
- In the conclusion to the comic Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan walks on water, for dramatic effect.
- Towards the end of the film The Truman Show, Truman appears to walk on water at the edge of the world created for him.
- The video for the song "Magic" by The Cars featured lead singer Ric Ocasek walking on water in a swimming pool.
- In the movie Bruce Almighty, both Bruce and God walk on water. The shots were created by visual effects experts Bill Taylor, ASC and David Williams II.
- The theme song for the video game Kingdom Hearts, Simple and Clean by Utada Hikaru uses the phrase "walking on water" after asking how to prove she loves the person she is singing to.
- Video game cheats that let the user walk on water is known as "Jesus Mode"
- Walk On Water is a song by the dance band Milk Inc
- Ryu Hayabusa from the Ninja Gaiden series can run on water
- Walk on Water is an Israeli film released in 2004 directed by Eytan Fox.
- In the movie Platoon, Barnes derisively refers to Elias as "a water-walker".
- In the 1996 film The Craft, Nancy walks on water the morning after the girls invoke Manon on the beach.
- The video game series The Elder Scrolls features a magical effect called "Water Walking", which allow the player to walk on the surface of water.
- Virtual Villagers: A New Home, The Golden Child Can Walk On Water