Jesus Walks on Water

12th-13th century
Mosaic
Cathedral of the Assumption, Monreale, Sicily

The episode is recounted in Matthew 14:22-33. Jesus walks across the water toward the storm-tossed boat. He calls for Peter to come to him and Peter does walk on the water for a bit but takes fright when the wind howls and begins to sink. Jesus lifts him up and chides his lack of faith. The other apostles then "came and adored him, saying: Indeed thou art the Son of God."

In the mosaic, the apostles' adoration is pictured as a low bow with the hands held out in acclamation. Jesus holds a scroll in his left hand representing the content of the faith Peter needs. The boat has no rudder and its sails are furled, signifying the apostles' dependence on God as they travel.

Above the boat the Latin inscription says IHESUS SUPER MARE AMBULAT ET PETRUM MERGENTEM ALLEVAT, "Jesus walks on the sea and lifts up the sinking Peter."

This image in full resolution

More of Jesus' Public Life
More of St. Peter

Photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.