Ok, I'm trying to figure out how to do this in jME, but there's still some concepts that I just don't get yet. I want to take a scene, and add a ripple effect over it that distorts the scene behind it (probably a matter of capturing the pixels and then painting them onto a custom model and then altering the model for the ripple). I can't seem to figure out the process though with the jME mindset. I can't even figure out how to build this custom model and move it like a ripple. Could someone please show me some example code to get me started?

maybe look at the cloth demo ??

Think Mr Coder used a heightmap