I wrinkle my nose. Fish, sweat, and pigs… he always smells awful when he returns. He kisses me, his beard so long and bushy that it covers half of my face. His passion is earnest. It’s been three months… no, four months, since he was last home. I try to not begrudge that.
Pulling back I see his smile is so wide, it crinkles in eyes. “Wife,” he says standing back to look at me. Somewhere under all of that, I can see the brown eyes that first pulled me under his spell. His charisma is undeniable. His charm obvious to the observer. His laugh infectious.
“Hello, husband.” I smile, yet inwardly shoo him toward a bath and shave. “Come in. Welcome home.” I stand aside allowing him into our house.
Our home used to be so much more grand, before he sold so many of our things. We were never rich, yet we were more well off than others. His business was successful, passed down from generation to generation. Our home was enviable yet comfortable. Now, I maintain what is left of it in his absence.
He sits comfortably in his chair, removing his threadbare sandals, and washing his feet in the basin near the hearth. I pour him a cup of spiced wine and sit opposite of him.
He intakes half of it before resting back to look into the fire. His eyes watch the flames dance, and I wait.
“I have walked on water.”
The words hang in the air between us. I wait for an explanation. Ever since he first left, I worried that he had lost his mind a bit. The stories were too ludicrous to believe. His own tales were so far-fetched, far more absurd than usual. Now, my heart flutters against the chances that his mind may have slipped.
I clear my throat. “Excuse me?”
“I have walked on water.” His gaze continues toward the fire. It reminds me of what he told me only a year and a half ago. It brings the memory unbidden to my mind.
“I am leaving to follow Jesus.” He stared at me in earnest then waiting for my acquiescence… my affirmation even.
“Who??” I had never heard of Jesus. No one had.
“Jesus. He bid me and my brother to come, so we are going.”
“I don’t know!”
I stared at him dumbfounded. “You are following a man you do not know to a place you are unsure of?”
Excitedly he replied, “Yes! Andrew and I both! We shall be fishers of men henceforth.”
“Wife.” His voice brings me back to the present.
“You…. walked? On water?” My mind is working feverishly to take it in. Over the past year or more I have heard of a great many things… many miracles so they are called. I have even seen them myself. Yet now, my mind twists and turns trying to digest this information.
“Yes!” He sets the cup on the table, leaning in. “Jesus walked out to us one morning at dawn in the midst of the sea. The guys and I were just waking when we saw him across the waves. He bid me come to him, and I did.”
He pauses looking at me expectantly, smile as wide as ever beneath his fur.
I stare back. What am I to say? My husband, a fisherman since his boyhood, one of the greatest swimmers I have known now tells me that he walked on the waters of the sea. Jesus walking on water…. that I can believe. Jesus pulled my own mother back from the brink of death. I saw it with my own two eyes. My mind swirls back to that moment….
“Mother!” I wiped her feverish face with a rag. “Don’t worry. Jesus is coming.”
Her parched lips struggled. “Yeeshhush”. Her body trembled with the effort of saying his name.
She and I both knew he was a healer. Peter was convinced he was the Messiah, but I had not known him to overthrow any Roman authorities whatsoever, so I settled in believing him to be a healer.
He had appeared behind me without even a sound.
“Woman, get up. Your faith has healed you.”
Before my eyes, my mother’s face turned rosy, her lips, just cracked moments ago, now full and lined as they had been. She smiled at him, extended her hand as he helped her from the bed. Within moments, she was up preparing a meal for him, my husband, and their friends.
He gets up and kneels in front of where I sit. “I walked on water. It was miraculous. I have seen so many miracles, yet this…. this has changed me. I walked without falling. But then as I saw the winds around me, I began to sink. Yet he caught me. He caught me, pulled me up, and we walked back to the boat together.”
His eyes implore me to not only to believe his story but to believe in his truth as well. My husband, who blindly followed Jesus, who has healed lepers with his own hands, who apparently has walked on water, now truly believes that Jesus is the Messiah, the one who was prophesied about so long ago.
I cradle my face in my hands, afraid of what he might see in it. I fear he has lost his mind. Yet even more so, I fear he shall lose his life. Over the course of the last few months, the Temple leaders have become fearful of Jesus. His words hold too much authority, too much danger to them. Yet if my husband, who has forsaken all of this to follow him believes, what choice have I?
I take his hands into mine, looking into them. They are worn and calloused. They have worked to provide for me, for our children, for my mother. Now they work to serve Jesus and heal people.
I look up, staring into the depths of his beautiful eyes.
“Peter. I will follow you as you have chosen to follow.” I kiss his knuckles. “If you believe Jesus to be the Messiah, I, too, shall believe. Do as he tells you and know that I support you.”
Peter’s wife is mentioned three times but within the same story in the gospels. We know very little about her other than that. It can be safely assumed that without her support, Peter would never have fulfilled his ministerial potential as he did. There is Biblical evidence that she later followed Peter in his journeys (1 Corinthians 9:5). Other historians accredit her with having been martyred just before Peter was in Rome.
Either way, this nameless woman undoubtedly changed the course of Peter’s ministry in her support of him before and after Jesus’ crucifixion.
Herbert Lockyer. All the Women of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1967.