Jesus saw Nathan'a-el coming to him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"
Nathan'a-el said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."
Nathan'a-el answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these."
And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."
Whatever was Nathanael doing under that fig tree? It must have been private, because Jesus' saying that He saw him amazed Nathanel so much, he was startled into revelation: "You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" In the lines before today's reading, Nathanael had just sneered "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" So he wasn't expecting much when He met Jesus.
So, let's see, he could have been praying, asking God to send a Messiah. Or asking God to reveal Himself. Or sitting in simple adoration. Or, he could have been sinning. Leaving behind the vulgar choices of sin that MY sinful mind can dredge up, let's say that perhaps he was doubting that God existed. "I am tired of praying to a God I cannot see or feel. I've had it with God. This is as good a time as any to say the heck with God!" Then he dusted off his hands, so to speak, and went on, "free" of God. And then along came Jesus.
We talk a lot about Emmaus moments, and "falling off our horses," but there are Fig Tree Moments in our lives as well, when Jesus shows us that He can indeed see us in our most private joys and sorrows, and wants us to feel His presence.