So back to the main thread we go. The disciples-note that they are now called 'apostles'-have returned from their mission. They are worn out, but full of joy at what has happened and they have much to tell Jesus and each other. We can read into this passage to see how it must have been for Jesus with the constant crowds so eager to see Him, to hear Him, to be healed by Him. The need of both the disciples and Jesus was for a break, some rest and a catch up on the news. Jesus knew where the quiet places were and this is a good thing for us to do. Where is your quiet place? There has to be somewhere in your home that you can go that is free of distraction, even if it is the loo! Then somewhere fairly near that is quiet to walk or sit and think. It might be somewhere in your garden or somewhere a short drive away. In Cornwall, there was a lake - Siblyback - which took 20 mins to drive to, 50 mins to walk round, so a couple of hours to return refreshed. Here there are places such as Great Chalfield or the White Horse not too far away.
There are two dangers in life: one is the danger of constant activity. We cannot work unless we first rest and we are not effective witnesses to God's love unless we have spent time in His presence. Perhaps we never are still and listen and so we don't give God the opportunity to recharge us and to draw us to Him. How can we do God's work unless we spend time in the shelter of His wing? However, there is also the danger of too much withdrawal. When we find those times in the quiet with God so sweet, it can be difficult to tear ourselves away, but devotion and prayer which does not result in action and work is not real. We must never seek God's fellowship in order to avoid human company, but in order to fit ourselves more fully for it.
However, their time of peace and quiet was not to be. The crowd walked the ten miles around the lake whilst the boat was taking them the four miles across it, but instead of being annoyed, Jesus was moved with pity at the huge numbers who were so desperate to hear Truth that they had walked that distance! No one else could give them what they needed and that should be an encouragement to us, that there are many searchers after truth out in the world.