It’s an amazing thing. I remember when they taught us about surface tension in junior high school science class. You can actually fill a glass of water slightly above the rim. (Only slightly.) If you get it just right, you can squint your eye from a sideways perspective and observe the surface of the water above the glass. Amazing.
Then, you can take a leaf, or perhaps a small piece of paper, and lay it on the surface of the water, and it will float above the top edge of the glass. Cool stuff.
There’s another kind of surface tension spoken of beginning in John 6:15…
The disciples have been sent away from the setting where the feeding of the five thousand took place – and with good reason. Had they remained where they were, they would have received fame and glory for participating in that great miracle. Jesus would not allow that to happen – and at this point He Himself would choose not to receive glory either – for it was not His time. (The people wanted to make Him their king because He fed them.) To prevent any of this from happening, Jesus made His disciples depart by boat, and He Himself sent the crowd away and went up on a nearby mountain to pray.
Out on the water, we had a pretty tense situation brewing. It was dark, and a storm had come up on the sea of Galilee. On an inland body of water that is comparatively shallow, any kind of storm can be potentially life-threatening in a small boat. (In shallow waters, the waves caused by the storm-driven wind are much worse than on the open ocean.) Many of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen, accomplished boatmen familiar with the characteristics of the storms on the Galilee. After having made only about 3 or 4 miles of headway in the storm after 8 hours of rowing against the wind and the strong current, it would have been past time to turn back.
Can you feel the tension on the surface?
But Jesus had commanded them to go to the other side. Had He not known there would be a storm? Why would He send them if He had known? And, where was Jesus anyway? What happened next would astound them all!