In the 8th chapter of the Gospel of St. Mark, the story of Jesus healing a blind man in Bethsaida is recorded. A unique aspect of this story is that the man did not receive an immediate healing. After the initial spit and touch of Christ’s hands he could only see “men like trees walking“, and then Christ touched his eyes again and he could see clearly. This story parallels the two stage process of a blind man’s healing recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew. In this story the man is first touched by Christ and then told to go wash in a pool. These two stories give me great comfort because I know that my eyes still need healing, that I need frequent touches from Christ and opportunities to wash away the clay of the daily dust that seems to accumulate as a busy educator, wife, mother, and friend. My eyes don’t see Christ in every student and colleague yet. My eyes don’t perceive the glimmers of grace in all that comes to me each day. My eyes are blind to God’s mercy in events that are overwhelming in their difficulty. My eyes have trouble focusing on the positive. My eyes are easily distracted by things that are not eternal. My eyes are sometimes closed to beauty, truth and goodness.
I need multiple touches and washings because my eyes are the lamp of my body. When my eyes are good, my whole body also is full of light. But when my eyes are bad, my whole body is full of darkness. (Luke 11:34) My eyes can only see as well as my heart sees and my heart is in need of great healing. The Prophet Isaiah also connected our senses with our hearts, saying that all must work together for full perception – we must see with our eyes, hear with our ears and understand with our hearts.
Christ touches my eyes through prayer, Christ washes my eyes with tears of repentance. I am grateful for His patience and mercy. Today I might see “men like trees walking”.