I was thinking today about how we "hear" things about people or world events and then adopt that as set in stone. We hear that so-and-so is having marital problems, so we assume it to be true. Someone says that Mr. Whatsis did some jail time and we avoid him like the plague without even verifying the facts. I guess it's human nature or something.
The story about John The Baptist strikes me the same way. I can see the people of his time whispering behind his back about his clothes, his diet and his smell when he passed by. Some of those people came to hear him speak out of curiosity, after hearing about him. Did they stay for the message, I wonder? Did they hear the words of encouragement to "hang in there, the Savior's coming"? Or did they just see this weird guy and then go on about their business? And then of course, Jesus came along. He was different, too. But we know people talked about him, what he did, who he hung around with, the off-beat messages. We know people talked about him even after he died. They are still talking about him.