Simon and others had been "washing their nets." These fishermen used cast nets to catch fish. It was important that all the weeds, sticks, dead fish, and other trash be carefully picked out of the nets. Otherwise, the debris would prevent the net from opening and catching fish. Also, a net not properly cleaned would stink up the boat and attract rats, which would gnaw on the ropes and create holes. If not kept clean, the cord (used as a drawstring) would rot. Another problem with a dirty net is that it would be easier for the fish to see and to avoid.
"Washing their nets" was not a quick process, but required carefully going over each piece by hand, removing debris, scrubbing, and repairing any holes. After all this work, Jesus told Simon to "let down your nets." Because the Sea of Galilee was very clear water, daytime was not a good time to fish. I can only imagine the thoughts that might have gone through Simon's mind: "Our nets are finally clean and repaired. If we couldn't catch any fish all night, we certainly aren't going to catch any now. And then, we'll have to clean our nets again!"
How many times does our Lord ask us to do something, and we think it is a waste of time? Perhaps we think: "Lord, I've tried and I've tried, but nothing seems to happen. It doesn't make sense for me to try anymore." We are tired and discouraged, and then Jesus says, "Launch out into the deep," when all we want to do is just QUIT! But Jesus knows something we don't, the answer is just ahead of us. When we take Him at His Word, we (like Peter) can be "astonished" at what God can do!
All the night long hast thou labored in vain, To the deep launch out again. Cast in thy net, as the Master has said, And it shall not be in vain. — Mrs. L. M. Beal Bateman
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