Overheard in Jericho
(A poetic reflection on Mark 10:46-52)
Yeah, it was that guy.
You know him–I think his name is Bartimaeus.
The blind guy. Sits on the corner and begs.
I’m sure you’ve seen him.
You know, here’s Jesus, everyone’s here to see him,
sure, we’re all following after him.
They say he’s a great teacher, you know.
We’re all hoping he’s going to tell us something
that helps us all make sense of the craziness around here…
…And this blind guy is like…you know…yelling to Jesus…and he wouldn’t shut up.
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” over and over.
“Shut up dude! Let the teacher teach!”
But no, he just keeps yelling.
So Jesus calls the guy over.
And here’s the weird part.
Jesus doesn’t even touch the guy.
Says to him, “Your faith has made you well,”
And suddenly the guy can see.
He really didn’t have anything to tell us,
he just healed that guy and kept going…
…and you know…
…if I hadn’t sort of known who that guy was,
I’d have thought it was some kind of shill.
But as long as I’ve known of that Bartimaeus guy,
he really has been blind, so I know what I saw was real.
Here’s the part I can’t get out of my head.
“Your faith has made you well.” Your faith.
And, in all honesty,
I was one of the people thinking, “Shut up, dude.”
I mean, you know, maybe I wasn’t as mean as some of them,
maybe I didn’t actually say it out loud,
but I really was thinking, “You are so annoying.
We’re trying to learn something here.”
You know, I suppose I did learn something…
…and I don’t like it much.
I guess I’ve always thought encounters with God
are like, well…scheduled.
We go to worship at the appointed time,
and that’s when we encounter God, right?
But my encounter with Jesus was random chance, really.
I just happened to be on the road
the same time he was.
The guy who needed the most healing,
I was thinking that he was an annoyance.
The guy who sits on the corner every day
who can’t see me, but I can see him,
I don’t see at all, really. Or at least pretend not to.
But Jesus called him over. Him. Out of everyone.
The blindness was mine.
Do I have enough faith to make me well?
Maria Evans splits her week between being a pathologist and laboratory director in Kirksville, MO, and gratefully serving in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri , as the Interim Pastor at Christ Episcopal Church, Rolla, MO.
“The Healing of Bartimaeus” by Fernando Gallego workshop, 1480-1488, University of Arizona Museum of Art , Tucson, AZ, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.