I went to get coffee for Nancy and me to share. And a bottle of water for Saint John of the Mall.
Nancy is better than I am at asking questions about people’s lives. They started talking. When I came back, she was just saying, “How did you start following Jesus?”
“I grew up on the lake,” he said. “My family worked in the fishing industry. Had for generations. My older brother was taking over the business from my dad. My friend Andrew was in the same boat.”
I winced. I waited for a laugh. Apparently John isn’t into puns.
“So we had time to discuss religion and politics and life. Andrew and I even were able visit a distant cousin who lived in Jerusalem. He worked in the religious bureaucracy. While we were there, we started to spend time with another John. He was starting to get known for his open-air meetings. And for his attacks on the bureaucracy. I didn’t want to cause trouble for my cousin so Andrew and I headed for home, but we travelled with John. We were taking in his teaching. And one day our mentor introduced us to Jesus.”
“You mean like told you about Jesus?” Nancy asked. “Or had you pray some kind of prayer?”
John shook his head. “Not like you mean. John pointed across the road and said, ‘He’s way more worthy of your attention than I am.’ And so we went and met Jesus.”
Nancy and I looked at each other. Was this old man at the mall saying he was THE Saint John?
He ignored us. “We followed Jesus home. Or to the place he was staying. And we were hooked. Andrew recruited his brother, Peter. My brother James got on board.”
John sipped his water. Nancy and I were quiet.
This was getting interesting. And odd.