O the Deep Deep, Love of Jesus

O The Deep, Deep Love Of Jesus

Before we get to this  hymn, I am going to ask you to use your imagination a little.  Picture yourself in London, England in the late 1800′s.  You are a teenager struggling with your faith.  It is a cold, rainy night.  You are lonely, walking home after work, asking God to have mercy on you.  You are walking along the Thames River and come to the Hungerford Bridge to cross.  You pause for a moment on the bridge, and look over the side into the dark waters of the Thames River, and hear a voice inside your head say “Make an end to all this misery!!”  Refusing to give into these dark voices, you ask yourself “Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?” and you answer and proclaim “I do believe with my whole heart.”

This is the true story behind this great hymn written by Samuel Trevor Francis in 1875.  Mr. Francis was a London merchant who was passionate about hymn writing and open-air preaching.  After this experience when he was a teenager, Mr. Francis spent the next 73 years of his life in ministry.  As you read about the love of Jesus in this song, I hope you key in on the phrases regarding the water/river/ocean, and think back to what Mr. Francis probably was experiencing that cold, rainy, lonely night in London.  For those of you that are familiar with this tune, I hope the background story behind gives you more insight into the author’s mindset, and that it also paints a beautiful picture for you of God’s great love for His children.


O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

  Couple of comments on the lyrics:

  • “Underneath me, all around me” – Do you remember in grammar school when you had to learn about prepositions?  You know “about, above, across, before, behind, below, etc.”  I get the picture here that the author is trying to communicate, with a couple of different prepositions, how great the love of Jesus truly is.  It is around us.  It is in us.  It is before us.  It is behind us.  It is under us.  It is through us.  It is with us.  It is near us.  Paul wrote in Ephesians that there is “one God, one Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.”  This great God who is over all, and in all, and through all, also has His love over us, in us, and through us.
  • “Ever loveth, changeth never” – I like the marriage of these phrases here in Verse two.  The author combines something that God always does (loves) with something that He never does (change).  Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,  for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  This great passage of Scripture was also the inspiration for another great line from a truly “great” hymn – “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”  That author wrote “Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not.”  Once again we see this theme of God’s unchanging love for His children.  A love that is deep, vast, unmeasured, boundless and free!

In the 1970′s the BeeGees asked a question in one of their songs.  It was entitled “How deep is your love?”  Have you ever caught yourself asking God that particular question or questions like it?  Maybe during a difficult time or after a tragedy, you ask God some pretty direct questions?   One of the things that I like about Job is that it shows us that God can handle our “tough” questions.  For 30+ chapters in the book of Job, we find Job asking questions.  We also find his friends questioning Job about sin in his life, or the lives of his children that were killed.  Even his wife questions what is going on and why.

God decides to speak to Job in Chapter 38.  For several chapters, God questions Job about a few things, and asks him some pretty direct, blunt, rhetorical questions.  To which Job finally responds, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”  Reading the end of Job’s story is important, and the Bible does tell us that God blessed Job’s latter days more than his first days.  But the one thing you don’t find in those closing chapters of Job is answers to all of Job’s questions.  God did not tell Job about the conversation He had with Satan.  God did not answer many of Job’s “Why’s?”  What God did do, however, is remind Job of His greatness, His power, His Knowledge, and in my opinion, His Love.  His love for the earth.  His love for His ultimate creation – mankind.  And His love for Job.  In my opinion, that “deep, deep love” we have from God is far better than the answers we might receive from Him.  I believe the author of this hymn experienced that deep love that lonely night in London, and my prayer for you today is that you experience that deep, deep love as well.

I have attached a link to a contemporary version of this hymn by the group Selah.  It has a powerful video as well.  I hope you enjoy it.



One Response to O the Deep Deep, Love of Jesus

  1. I just heard this hymn today in church. It’s so beautiful. Thanks for the backstory. The main character of my writing at the moment is Buck Crenshaw who intellectually accepts Jesus into his life, but then struggles to have real relationship with God. This song will be a good inspiration for him. (I write about the late 1800’s.



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