The Silver Chair

In one of my favorite stories from C.S. Lewis a girl named Jill Pole has entered Narnia, Lewis’ fantasy world for the first time and has found herself alone knowing very little about the world around her.


In this passage she heard a stream and became very thirsty but when she came nearer the stream she saw a great lion just on the other side.  This, you know if you are familiar with the story is Aslan the Christ figure of Lewis’ allegory.  Jill stops in hesitates scared of the Lion before her.
“Are you not thirsty?” said the lion.

“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.

“Then drink,” said the lion.

“May I? could I? would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.

The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.  The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.

“Will you promise not to do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.

“I make no promise,” said the Lion.

Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
“Do you eat girls?” she said.

“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.

“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill

“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.

“Oh dear! said Jill, coming another step nearer. I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”

“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.

            I love this interaction because Lewis paints Christ as powerful and strong, Aslan doesn’t beg or bargain with the girl as some preachers are want to do, he simply states the facts and makes it clear that he makes no promises to leave you as you are.

             I have heard it said that many Christians today want to “defang God” and make him the God of nice.  In fact many people when disputing the claims of Christiainity specificly or dieties in general will start by asking questions akin to “How can a good God allow…”  As if God is simply to make our lives perfect after our mostly half hearted devotion to him.  In this passage Lewis ends it so well by having Alsan restate the most important fact  “There is no other stream”

              Peter got this point when he came upon a teaching of Jesus that was difficult to swallow.  Most of his disciples left and he looked at Peter and the rest of the twelve and asked “are you going to leave me to?”  Peters response was so profound, “Where else would we go, you alone have the words of eternal life.”  Like it or not God is God and there is no other place to go, really.

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One response to “The Silver Chair”

  1. You have quoted my favorite of all the Narnia books. I truly enjoyed Lewis’ ability to make some very deep concepts come to life with very simple children’s stories.

    When my mom died, I was actually in the middle of taking a class on who we are in Christ. I’d taken the class before and was only taking then to learn to teach the class. Many of the people in the class asked me how I reconciled my mother’s death with what we were teaching regarding God and healing and our roles as children of God. I would often answer with a simple response: He is God, I am not. I was angry with God, but I did not turn away from He for it — I turned to Him… There is no other stream.

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