This book is a rare gift. It pulses with story and theology, with lived suffering and quiet joy, with vast mysteries and a strong Savior. The question is not whether you can put it down–because that will be hard–but whether you have the good sense first to pick it up, and read.
-MARK GALLI, Editor in Chief, Christianity Today
Like the Gospels, Crossing the Waters is an immersive on-the-ground, in-the-water experience. Dramatic, wild—and wet, set in a rich maritime culture of Alaska and the Sea of Galilee.
Think of it as one giant float trip where we will see, smell, and taste the waters here as we purpose to follow Jesus.Read Excerpt
Once you go under the water, you are never the same.
About the Book
Enter into the truest stories ever told, with expectant eyes and open ears.
Crossing the Waters takes Jesus’ command to make disciples seriously. As a Bible exegete, a lifelong follower of Jesus, an Alaskan commercial fisherwoman, and a masterful storyteller, Leslie takes readers on a wild, wet trek and sail through the gospels, asking and illuminating what it means to genuinely, wholeheartedly follow Jesus.
Water saturates the Scriptures, from the Spirit hovering over the waters, to the holy city of Revelation and the river flooding its streets, and so many places in between: streams in the desert, water from the rock, the well of living water, the mikveh, the gathering of the waters.
Sometimes we leave our nets to follow God. Other times we follow God by staying.
About the Author
LESLIE LEYLAND FIELDS is an award-winning author of nine books, a national speaker, a popular radio guest, and a 38-year commercial fisherwoman, working with her husband and six children in a salmon fishing operation on their own island off Kodiak Island, Alaska.
In Leslie’s Own Words
I understand something about Jesus’s voyages on the Sea of Galilee. In the midst of all these waters, I’ve been brought startlingly near to this man who claimed to be God. I want to bring you closer to see and experience for yourself.
I’ll take you from whatever fields, cities, or neighborhoods you live in, and we’ll cross to my Alaskan waters. We’ll ride through a season of commercial fishing in this wild corner of the world. We’ll cross the waters to Israel, where I hiked the “Gospel Trail” around the Sea of Galilee and fished with Galilean fishermen. And we’ll step out on a new journey through the Gospels, dipping into some of the wettest, stormiest, strangest events of those three years.
Come, follow me. Do not be afraid.
Here is the paradox of the Gospel: it brings peace and fellowship with God himself, but it doesn’t allow us to be satisfied with our own good fortune.
I have friends whose nearly every thought is filtered through their academic life, and others for whom the world of sports shapes most of their conversations. With Leslie Leyland Fields, like Jesus, we encounter someone whose life floats into memoir through the world of water, wind, and waves as well as fish, boats, and storms. In the hands of Leslie’s very able pen a life of family fishing in Alaska slides into a sacrament that opens up the life of Jesus, the Gospels, and the life of Jesus’ disciples. Jesus, with an insider’s wink, would like her stories.
Author A Fellowship of Differents, Kingdom Conspiracy, The Sermon on the Mount
Leslie Leyland Fields invites us into what at first glance is a life most of us will never experience. However, her experience couldn’t be more relatable to readers as she navigates the transition of midlife, the bittersweet ache of an emptying nest, and her questions about what it means to follow Jesus here and now. Crossing the Waters carries us across time and culture, netting fresh insight into the disciples’ journey.
Michelle Van Loon
Author of Moments & Days: How Our Holy Celebrations Shape Our Faith
This book is a rare gift. It pulses with story and theology, with lived suffering and quiet joy, with vast mysteries and a strong Savior. The question is not if you can put it down—because that will be hard—but if you have the good sense first to pick it up, and read.
Editor in chief, Christianity Today
In Crossing the Waters, Leslie Leyland Fields takes us on a spiritual journey that leads us across the world—from the island in Alaska she calls home to the Holy Land where she sails the Sea of Galilee—and across time, where we fish alongside the earliest followers of Jesus. Through it all, she paints a vivid portrait of faithful endurance.
Managing editor of The Gospel Project, author of Clear Winter Nights: A Journey into Truth, Doubt, and What Comes After, and Counterfeit Gospels
The disciples could often be found battling rough seas, storms, and empty nets. As an Alaskan fisherman for nearly four decades, Leslie Leyland Fields brings unique insight to the disciples’ experiences with Jesus—and how we, too, can learn to trust and follow the Savior.
President of Focus on the Family
Before reading Crossing the Waters, I didn’t yet realize that the guide I most needed to steer me through turbulent waters was one whose hands smell of finger kelp. With insight, wisdom, and a deep connection to the maritime world from which Jesus plucked his first followers, Leslie Leyland Fields blesses readers who want to see the Word, and see Jesus, with fresh eyes.
Speaker and author of The Girl in the Orange Dress
Like the seas she and her family fish in, Leslie Leyland Fields’s Crossing the Waters is challenging, changing, crisp, bracing, beautiful, sometimes dangerous, and teeming with life. A wonderful story-teller, she invites us into her life and in so doing brings Bible characters to life as real flesh and blood, sweat and stink, spirit and grace people called to follow Jesus. This book is a gift!
J. Brent Bill
Minister, photographer, retreat leader, and author of Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality and Life Lessons from a Bad Quaker
What can a group of first-century Middle Eastern fishermen teach a twenty-first century Alaskan fisherwoman? Just about everything that really matters. Recasting her own enchanting but gritty life in the commercial fishing industry alongside those “fishers of men,” Leslie Leyland Fields shows us how each of our life stories is best understood in light of the “good story,” the gospel.
Karen Swallow Prior, Ph.D.
Author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and Fierce Convictions—The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More: Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist
Set in the stormy waters of Alaska and on the Sea of Galilee, Leslie Leyland Fields has written a beautiful, challenging, uplifting book that gives us context for the teachings of Jesus. Fields’s life has not been easy, and she does not pretend that any of us will sail smoothly through our own experiences. Instead, she opens her life as a mother, daughter, spouse, and friend, and exposes her personal challenges as she applies the teachings of Jesus. As she hikes through Israel, she uses her knowledge of fishing in Alaska to put Scripture into context. An inspiring book for personal or group study, Crossing the Waters offers unique insight and inspiration.
Dale Hanson Bourke
Is it possible that even the hard things that come to us are meant, finally, for our good?