This week's lectionary reading is another of many scripture stories that feature people under or in trees. This week Jesus makes a reference to having seen Nathaniel under the fig tree (a scripture reference allusion to Micah 4:4 "everyone beneath their vine and fig tree). by this reference Jesus relates him to the messianic prophecies and to the Divine. In Micah and in this gospel reference the the tree is a sign of the presence of God.
I am reminded of Elijah sitting under the tree in the wilderness and finding rest and sustenance, of Adam and Eve with the trees of life and of the knowledge of good and evil, of Jonah enjoying the shade of the tree whilst he looked over Ninevah, of Zaccheus taking to a tree to see Jesus and of the trees in the midst of the garden in the center of the New Jerusalem.
And i know that when i sit under a tree and take time, that i am taken closer to the source of all Life and the Ground of my being. Perhaps what Jesus was saying about Nathaniel was that he was a person who took the time to sit under trees, and therefore saw him as a reflective and prayerful man who valued time with God.