O THE DEEP, DEEP LOVE OF JESUS                                       written in 1888

The Story

You may remember the tune to this hymn even more than the words… and the words are great!

The tune to this hymn is called “Ton-Y-Botel”. According to one story – that sounds too far-fetched to be true – this tune was found in a bottle that had washed up on shore from the ocean. And, as you sing this tune, it almost rides up and down, like waves on the ocean. And there is a link between the ocean and the words of this hymn.

Samuel Francis (1834-1925), the author of this hymn, was a son of a London merchant and artist, and he himself was a London businessman who traveled back and forth across the ocean many times. Samuel had a spiritual turning point as a teenager, contemplating suicide one night on a bridge over the River Thames.

In this hymn, Samuel compares the vastness of the ocean with the vastness of God’s love. He says it is reassuring to know God’s love is underneath us and around us, and leads us onward and upward. It should also motivate us as we think of others on distant shores who do not yet know of God’s love for them. We are called to spread His praise “from shore to shore”.

Samuel published a number of hymns in religious newspapers and periodicals. He belonged to the Plymouth Brethren congregation in London, and served as an open air preacher. His hymns and poems appeared in The Life of Faith and other papers and periodicals.

It is important to remember that, even more than loving the ocean, Samuel enjoyed the “deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best.”

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – bask in the deep, deep love of Jesus.

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 vast of blessing, ’tis a haven sweet of 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!


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