“And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.” (Mark 8:25 NKJV)
One day as Jesus and His disciples approached the city of Bethsaida, a group of people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. The Bible says, “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?’ He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’ 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.” (Mark 8:23~26, NIV)
This unusual story has always held a certain fascination for me. First, I am intrigued that Jesus took the man away from the emotionally charged atmosphere of the crowd who brought him to be healed. Jesus did the miracle away from the crowd. This is so unlike many of the faith healers in our day, who do so much for show….and money.
And, second, I am bemused by the oddity of Jesus spitting directly in the man’s eyes in order to heal him. I wonder why the Lord did that; and I wonder how the guy felt about that. On another occasion Jesus had spit on the ground and made a mudpack, which He then placed on a blind man’s eyes. Upon washing the mud away, the man could see. But here Jesus spits directly into the man’s eyes!
Could it be that Jesus, by not doing it the same way twice, is thereby showing us that God deals with each of us as unique individuals? There are no pat answers to life’s complex challenges; no cookie-cutter solutions to humanity’s diverse need for God’s saving grace and healing mercy. One gets a mudpack; another gets spit in the eye! Either way, the miracle comes, and God gets all the glory.
And then, finally, I’m stumped by the fact that the miracle didn’t take at first; I mean, it didn’t work. The man could indeed see, but his vision was as yet distorted. “I see men as trees, walking,” he said. Jesus had to touch him a second time in order for him to see everything clearly.
This is to me the most intriguing feature of this event. One would think that spit in the eye -- especially if put there by the Son of God Himself -- would certainly be potent enough to perform a miracle of healing. But the story tells us that while eyesight was restored, it was still somewhat foggy. The guy needed a second touch for the miracle to fully set in.
OK, so tomorow I'll pick back up at the intersection where I was waiting for the light to change, and wrap this episode all together.