Who is John Dory? (Steve's definition)
I’ve bought some metal “John Dory” sculptures to go on an empty wall at home. I’ve been wanting to do this for ages as the hallway has always needed something ‘arty’, but had to be patient as I wanted an art piece that would have some meaning to me. When I first saw these metal wall hangings, I remembered that this fish is also known as the “Jesus Fish” (from some fanciful legend regarding the dark spot on the fish being made by Jesus’ thumbprint)… and so I did some background reading on where this name “John Dory” originated from, only to discover that there were a couple of other theories I was not expecting:
Quoted in the Jules Verne novel “An Antarctic Mystery”, a giant John Dory is witnessed being a metre long in length and with “firm and savoury flesh”… which shows me that the name John Dory has been around for a couple of centuries. Earlier writings argue that the name John Dory came from St. Peter, and that the dark spot on the fish's flank actually came from St. Peter's thumbprint (and not Jesus’). And so, after doing a brief background read, I did not find anything definitive that gave weight to the origin of the “John Dory” name.
My own speculations began to form based upon the word “dory”, which is a traditional shallow-draft boat typically used as a fishing vessel in coastal waters and open seas for many centuries… so it seems to make sense that the “John Dory” may have connections with this kind of boat. But what is difficult is finding where the name “John” came from? Who is this character? Was someone named “John” the first man to catch such a fish!!? Or is it something else?
Coincidentally, I had been reading the Book of John, where Jesus shouts from the shoreline to the men on the boat ordering them to fish on the other side of their vessel:
And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find.
They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
Now, what I particularly like about this passage is that it’s all about catching the fish. It was only after listening to Jesus’ suggestion that the disciples changed their fishing strategy… and hence the catch was very very successful.
Conclusion: without Jesus’ help, we tend to continue with our “one sided” approach (thinking that it has always worked (or not))… and what can happen is that our goal (or vision) for a catch is not always successful. So that’s the lesson for us: maybe we need to listen to Jesus a lot more… and then try his recommended approach to what we are doing in order to catch the fish. In other words, listening to Jesus should result in our strategies winning others for God.
Now although the fish caught in John’s story were probably not “John Dories”, I have found a personal connection relating this story of John about how the disciples were able to catch numerous fish while in a Dory… Yep, I really like my “John Dory” sculptures... which will now always remind me of this wonderful passage.