Connie was a young anthropologist when she began working among Aboriginal people in Australia. The first community she worked amongst had a rich tradition of storytelling. Everyone would gather on special nights, a story would be told, and then another, and another. Connie felt extraordinarily privileged when asked to join them. One evening at the end of a story, Connie was so taken by it that she asked. "May I ask a question?" … "What does it mean?”.
All eyes turned upon her… the elder looked at her gravely and said "That is the one question you cannot ask."
A long time passed before she was invited again.
She had asked the wrong question… "What does it mean?" was the wrong question to ask about any Aboriginal myth.
And it may also be the wrong question for us to ask about the parables, or any of the stories told by Jesus.
"What does it mean?" is the wrong question if we think that by having an answer we can somehow get a handle on this story, domesticate it, make it safe. The answer is found in ones enquiring heart.