One Woman's Exodus 33 Experience of Encountering the Real Jesus

(Photo by james ballard on Unsplash)

As I was getting ready for a trip to Israel during my early days as a believer, I started dreaming with water. I saw ocean water, and I also dreamed I was at an aquarium. I didn't know what to make of the dreams, but I love being by the water and was really looking forward to seeing the Mediterranean Sea, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and especially the Sea of Galilee.

I began to wonder what God would do when I visited all those famous bodies of water that I had grown up reading about in the Bible.

The day finally came when the tour group was going on a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, and I was on high alert. I just felt like God was going to do something special, and I didn't want to miss it. It was a very overcast day, which was just fine with me. The whole time we were in what they call a "Jesus boat," I kept looking out of the boat thinking, Wow, this is what it must have been like the day the disciples got caught in the storm. And this is where Jesus walked on the water! What would I do if I saw Jesus walking on the water, and He asked me to climb out?

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I kept my eyes peeled! Amid the celebration on the boat ride, an older woman said she was healed from a pain in her knee and was able to move around freely and praise dance again. As amazing as that was, I was a little disappointed. I kept thinking that somehow my questions about my dreams with water would be answered during the boat ride.

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Once we were ashore, I forgot about it and went along with my day. As evening approached, we returned to our bungalow at the fabulous resort where we were staying by the Sea of Galilee, and my mom and I went outside to enjoy the stunning scenery. She began collecting rocks, while I was drawn straight to the water.

In a moment I will never forget, I looked out at the breathtaking Sea of Galilee in front of me, I opened my arms wide and exclaimed, "Oh, how beautiful!" And for some reason I looked down and saw my shadow in the water. To my delightful surprise, my shadow formed the shape of a cross. At that moment, I felt Jesus whisper to me, "You were looking for me on the outside, but I am inside of you. You are a reflection of me."

Amen! God did want to speak to me by the water, but not in the way I expected. I thought it would be through something spectacular on the boat ride, but instead He showed up in a small, still voice and reminded me He is always with me.

I had been a bit nervous about traveling to Israel, but that one moment helped to confirm to me that no matter where I go, God is with me because He lives inside of me. Knowing that has helped me launch out into many adventures over the years.

There is nothing more important than knowing that Almighty God is right there with you. I pray that as believers, we would be like Moses, who recognized the value of staying close to God: ""If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how will it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we will be distinguished, I and Your people, from all the people who are on the face of the earth? " (Ex. 33:15-16).

Nancy Gavilanes is an author, speaker, life coach and evangelist who has a passion to encourage people to live their God-given dreams. She is the author of By Faith, Waiting on God Well, Abounding Faith and Crossing Your Jordan River. Nancy has a master's degree in journalism from New York University, has been on short-term missions trips to five countries and has spoken to various groups, including to Christians working at the United Nations, students at Nyack College, and has given her brief testimony at her home church, Times Square Church. Connect with Nancy at

This article is an excerpt from By Faith: Adventures and Reflections on Walking with God Here and Abroad.

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