In her book So Long Insecurity, Beth Moore pays a visit to a very unusual story in the Bible. It’s one of those stories that makes your head spin and you can’t help but wonder what on earth was Jesus doing? And what on earth would this mean to me? As it turns out, as with most stories that swim in my mind for weeks on end, the more I thought about it the more it meant to me.
Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida
22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.”
Can I get an amen on the, this is just a weird story?
What’s up with spitting in a man’s eyes in the first place? Interestingly, the act of spitting is quite an insult anywhere else in scripture and, well, in any societal mores period; it is gross and degrading. Why would Jesus choose such a crazy unconventional means to heal this blind man? Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for that, but I do love Beth’s perspective on the whole spitting matter.
In terms that are common to us today, you might think of it as Christ slathering the blind man’s eyes with his own DNA.
This is not the only instance in which he chooses such unconventional approach to healing. He healed another man’s blindness with a concoction of spit and dirt from the ground in John 9. And in Mark 7 he also healed a man that was deaf and “could hardly talk” by placing his fingers in his ears and then it says that he “spit and put his hand on his tongue”. Surely it wouldn’t be blasphemous for me to say that God sometimes does really weird things, would it?
Weird enough if we left it there. But what really must be catching your attention as it did mine is the fact that at first glance it sure does seem like Jesus has made a mistake. This man is only partially healed. Do you remember Wesley, in The Princess Bride, after Wesley is tortured to death and brought to the witch Doctor? Wesley is declared by Billy Crystal’s character (the which doctor) as “mostly dead”. I guess we could declare this blind guy as “mostly healed”. I mean, he went from what we can assume complete blackness blind to seeing men as trees, walking. Close enough? I don’t think so.
As I continue on my own personal journey of healing, I find myself relating to this guy more and more. For starters, notice how he takes the blind man by the hand and guides him outside the village. In my own life although I could have been healed anywhere (as could have this blind guy) Jesus chose to take me by the hand and lead me outside of what was familiar to me, literally outside of my village to a completely different part of the country. Without knowing what was really going on when God took my hand to bring me to Texas he knew that this was the place where I would best feel his healing hands upon me, and where I would begin to see real change taking place in my heart.
Healing is part of the restoration and sanctification process that we receive only through Christ. He already spilled his DNA from the cross to bestow onto us this healing; and after his hands are upon us the healing journey will be so different for each of us. I love that about him. He does not use a “one prescription heals all” method. We are all wounded so differently, and we each have our own stories to live, and eventually our own stories to tell. We can come to him in secret as the woman with the “flow” did, or we can have people who care about us lead us to this healer, as the blind man’s friends did, or just have our loved ones intercede on our behalf, as the father of the dead little girl did. He has an individual remedy for each of us.
My favorite part of the story comes next. After spitting and laying his hands on the blind man he says:
Do you see anything?
I love how Jesus checks in on him. Jesus is the one pursuing us.
Sometimes I feel like Jesus is continually checking in on me in this way. He asks me, what do you see? Most of the time, I feel as though I still see “men like trees”, in other words I don’t think I’m seeing things clearly. You have for sure laid your healing salve on my being; I see things differently, but not clearly. Here is the best part.
He put his hands on his eyes again…
His healing never ends. I believe this only from experience. Perfection and complete restoration will not be reached till we are with him in heaven. Right now I want him to ask me every day, what do you see? When I see distortedly I want his healing hands on me once again.
…and he made him look up.
This reminds me of Peter, as Audio Adrenaline puts it so well, “if you keep your eyes on Jesus, you can walk on water”. My healing cannot take place by looking at men; they will look like trees. My healing will take place when I look up. Up toward my Father, up toward heaven, up to Jesus himself.
And the hope of the journey is:
And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.
My healing is a constant touch of the hands and spirit of Jesus as I continue to look up. That is just where I am now. I am in the pause somewhere between the spit and heaven. Some days I just have to say, Lord, I see men like trees, walking. I need your touch as I look to heaven. I want to see things clearly.