An expression that we often hear these days during the pandemic is that “we are in unchartered waters.” Water is frequently used as a metaphor. Water itself is a remarkable compound, H2O, that is put together by a hydrogen bond, which in itself is unique. Water is so special that it is sometimes used to explain the theological concept of the Trinity: one substance that has three states: solid, liquid, and gas. In Hebraic teachings water is sacred. The Book of Genesis starts out describing the separation of waters by God. The story of Noah tells of flood waters to destroy the evil of the world. During the exodus from Egypt the Israelites escape the army of Pharaoh by crossing through the parted waters of the Red Sea. Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army, is cured of leprosy in the Jordan River. John the Baptist preached of repentance and forgiveness by baptizing people in the Jordan.
But unchartered waters are different. Waters that are not mapped or “unchartered” suggest that we do not know where we are going. Just as Columbus, Hudson, and Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac (Maine Mt. named for him 1918 during the Spanish flu pandemic) and other explores did not really know where they were. Just as Peter, who got out of the boat to meet Jesus walking on water, did not really know if he would make it to Jesus. In these unchartered waters there is a sense of fear, hesitation, and wonder. But just as the explorers pushed ahead they were able to find new places. And just as Peter had faith enough to leave his little boat to reach Jesus, he was saved from sinking by the hand of Jesus reaching out to him.
So it is with us in these days, we may have miles to go, but with faith and trust in the one who reaches out to us by providing us with the wisdom of science and with our compassion and consideration we show others, God will guide us to a new place.