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Once I Was Blind
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Once I Was Blind
I knew it was morning by the bird’s chatter. In an hours time, the night sounds
had become completely different. I also knew because I put my hand out on the
bed clothes and there was a warm spot where the sun peeked through a crack in
the window. I wanted to be up early as it was the Sabbath day and perhaps the alms giving would be a little better.
My blindness, which had been there since birth, did not make things black. I could
tell there was light in a swirl of gray, but in the evening and night there was nothing
but sound. When I was young I used to wonder what faces looked like. I often
wished I could see my mother’s face but there was no hint of what she looked like
other than my touch. Her nose was small as was her mouth. I heard my father tell
her she was beautiful, but I could not understand beauty, except to relate it to the
feelings I had as she tenderly cared for me.
I rose up, washed my face in the cold water basin, ran my fingers through my hair.
It needed a cut. I spread the blanket straight, feeling all the wrinkles out with my
hands. I felt for the water cup and drank it all. It would be a long day and I would wait to eat until noon.
I smelled my clothes and decided they were all right to wear. I dressed, put on my
sandals, picked up my stick and alms cup and walked out the door. Mother would know where I had gone.
The priest came early, but not as early as I. It was a brisk morning with a chill
in the air. The priest called my name and dropped some coins in my cup. I thanked
him. He asked how I was and actually stopped his walking enough to say a few
sentences. He asked me if I had heard any unusual news. Anything about a new
teacher? A healer?
I had heard something about a group of men who traveled together explaining
the scriptures. People from Gallilee, fishermen. I asked him a few questions then,
wishing I could see the scriptures and divide them the way I understood. them.
I spread a canvas on the earth and sat down. There was not much doing this morning. It was still very early. I felt the sun on my back warming me with it’s welcome rays. It would be a very warm afternoon, but right now the heat was welcome.
In the air there was a fragrance. I thought it was lilacs, but soon decided it was
mixed with apple blossoms. I heard people talk about how fragrant they were and they sure did smell beautiful. Some children came and dropped a few pence in my cup - one little girl put a stem of lilacs in my cup. I thanked them profusely and
they ran to bring others with more pence. Soon they were back and one child knelt before me and offered me a large slice of bread. She begged and I took it from her. It made her very happy.
As the morning progressed, I heard more and more footsteps. There were many villagers out for worship at the temple. The Jews did not take their faith lightly.
Their history was carefully passed from one generation to another and rituals strictly
kept, even going back to the time of Moses ~ the Passover especially ~ and it was
quickly coming to that time.
I knew my own parents would soon come along. On the Sabbath Day, people came to the temple cordially, walking together sometimes in small groups.
Suddenly everyone became very quiet. I knew the Priests and High officials were passing. They commanded silence without a word.
A young man almost grown sat down beside me. “I brought this along so you won’t
have to look for dinner.” He slipped me a small cloth sack with cheese and bread inside. A few figs were there too, dried and sweet. This young man seemed so full
of compassion and I was grateful. He stopped almost every Sabbath and handed me
some morsel of food, often dropping in some coins as well. Suddenly he stood. “Oh, here He comes!”
‘Who?” I asked.
“The Healer...a Man of God, and a very good teacher. I have not heard anyone like Him before.”
The crowd began to shift to the street as He was coming. Apparently some of His
followers were there too. Trying to shield Him from so many, they ordered the people to step back, but I heard no reprimand from Him. I knew I was pretty much
out of the line of traffic so I just sat still wondering what was going on. Then I heard one of them say, “Whose sin caused this?”
I had heard that so many times in my life, I began to struggle to get to my feet. I just wanted to be somewhere else. But before I could step away, I heard a Voice.
His voice was different from all the rest and it carried such peace and kindness.
“No one.” He said. “No one sinned. He was born this way so that the works of
God might be made manifest in him.” He touched me then, so gently. I just stood
Some of them were saying, “How did he get through that crowd at the temple last night? I saw them raising up stones to throw and then....He just walked away! Like suddenly they were blinded!”
I could feel that He had stooped over. Actually, He squatted down and made some mud with His own spittle! I didn’t exactly put it into perspective, but in a moment His thumbs met in the bridge of my nose.
Slowly He drew the mud under His thumbs across my blind eyes.
“Now,” He said, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam.”
It wasn’t a great distance and the children, (who had been watching the whole procedure), grabbed my hands urging me on.
There was a small crowd at the pool when we arrived. The children led me to a good spot and I bent down, splashing the cool water on my face, across my eyes. I ran the heel of my hand down my face and on through my beard. Then, I opened my eyes.
Someone was looking at me...under the water...no, on the water’s surface.
So this was what a face looked like! I couldn’t realize at that moment it was mine.
Then I straightened up and, with the sleeve of my robe, I dried away the moisture.
It wasn’t yet noon, but I never could have imagined such a sight! The whole earth
seemed bathed in such beauty!! I didn’t understand color, but the water, the crowd
around, the children whose faces I connected with their voices now, were more
than any beauty I could imagine! At last I understood “blue” as I looked above ! All these years in the darkness of nothing - all washed away! All the struggle of my loved ones trying explain a blue sky was fulfilled! This was no “half sight”...I saw every freckle on their noses! The children were laughing and jumping up and down. I tried it too! The sky was open and clear for the beautiful blue, not
a single cloud, and the temple was more magnificent than I could have imagined in my wildest dreams! Sharp, clear, clean images of things that I could not even imagine a few moments ago.
Everyone was jubilant! We made such a ruckus that all those around knew something miraculous had happened. Now, I heard the bird call and saw the creature that sang that song!
As we made our way back, the crowd around me became larger and larger. Lots of the people knew me well - passed by me each day and saw me begging alms.
I was purposed to find this man who was the center core of this miracle!
I had a dozen thank you’s to give, but people were demanding answers to their
questions, - answers I could not give.
Everyone was offering an opinion. “He was blind!! Now, he sees!!” Others
said, “He just looks like him - it is another man.”
Finally, I said it myself, for I could not be silent about this wonder. “I am he.”
Then a torrent of questions ensued. Everyone had an opinion. I wondered how
different I looked with my understanding eyes. Some of these voices were
very familiar to me. All faces were new. A voice I had known before said, “Tell
us how this happened.”
“A man named Jesus came by and put some mud over my eyes. He told me to go
wash in the pool, Siloam, and when I obeyed, I could see.”
“Where is He?” they asked.
I didn’t know, for if He was standing beside me, I had never seen His face!
Oh, how I wanted to!
They were pressing in all around me and the crowd began to move toward
the temple. Suddenly we were in the presence of the priests. I knew most of
their voices, but I couldn’t have missed them, just by their dress - regal, flowing robes of pure white with ornate decoration on them. It was too much for my new eyes.
Then they began. Their questions stilled the crowd and caused uneasiness in
my heart. There was a certain lack of joy - something in their voices was missing.
I could never have imagined that everyone would not be glad.
“How is it that you received your sight?” one of the white robes demanded.
“He put clay over my eyes and I washed and now I see.”
“This Man is not of God,” said one, “for He does not keep the Sabbath!”
Another spoke, “How could such a miracle happen without God? A sinner could not perform this miracle!”
“What do you have to say about Him?” they asked me.
“He is a Prophet.” I answered.
Still, they would not believe me, and they called for my parents.
I could see the shock on my parent’s faces as they were asked if I was actually their
child and if it was true that I had been born blind. Then they demanded of them:
“How is it that he can see now?”
My parents, (the joy of seeing their faces!) replied that they knew I was their son and that it was true I had been blind my whole life. “But,” they said, “We cannot tell you how he now sees nor Who opened his eyes . He is of age, ask him.”
They gave this answer in fear, for they had heard already if anyone confessed Jesus
as Christ, they would be put ,out of the temple.
The priests turned again to me. “Give God the praise, for we know that this Man
is a sinner.”
That broke my heart as I had not yet been able to say thank you to Him, but I replied, “Whether He is a sinner or not, I don’t know, but I do know that once I was blind, and now, I see!”
Yes, it was the Sabbath. But people pulled an animal out of the ditch on the Sabbath to save its life, surely a simple act like this would not be frowned upon.
“Tell us how He did this! How did He open your eyes?”
“I have told you already. Are you deaf that you want it repeated over and over?
Or do you wish to become His follower? We know that God does not hear sinners, but those who worship Him and doeth His will, He will hear and answer. Since the world began, I have never heard of a wonder like this! If this Man were not of God, He could do nothing!” I was overcome with their uncaring, judgemental ways.
“You were altogether born in sin!!!” they shouted. The next thing I knew rough
hands were laid on me and they threw me out of the temple!
They plainly did not want the truth!
I sat there disturbed and amazed at all that had taken place. I tried to find some
sound reasoning somewhere in all the discussion. I may not have been able to see
in my lifetime, but I still understood and weighed out problems. I had overcome
a mountain of them in my life.
Then a Man stood quietly before me.
“Do you believe on the Son of God?” The eyes of the Questioner made me say,
“Who is He, Lord, that I might believe?”
“You have both seen Him and it is He that speaketh with you.” The familiarity
in the voice and the look of mercy in His eyes reminded and convinced me at once,
that He had spoken to me earlier that day.....”No one sinned”....
Then my opportunity came. I fell at His beautiful feet and worshiped Him! I thanked Him for the deed He had so mercifully performed. I worshiped and praised...
And felt His gentle touch. Moments that can never be lost passed between us.
Love that can never diminish bloomed. My heart forever became ingrained with His!
At last, He offered, “I came to the world for judgement, that they which see not
might see, and they which see....might be made blind.”
One of the Pharisees heard Jesus words and said, “Are we blind also?”
“If you were blind,” Jesus replied, “You would have no sin, but you say
that you see - therefore, your sin remains.”
Too much to see, to hear, to understand for this one day in my life, that changed
a blind beggar into a loving servant who could see His Lord!! Too much! The sun
was still shining and I just wanted to see the faces of those I loved and had known
all my life only by touch. How many lives could I change with my testimony?
How many would believe? No matter. for I could not but tell it, to those who had
known me and to those who had never seen me. I would lay the gift at their feet and
perhaps the light...and the love...would brighten their dim eyes also. I just knew
for as long as I lived, I would never forget that face with the beautiful eyes, full
of mercy and love....and I would always remember that Once.....I was blind!
©© 2006 by Joan Clifton Costner
Under His Wings Heavenly Poetry
Joan is a Heavenly Inspirations Author.
This writing may be used in its entirety, with credits in tact,
for non-profit ministering purposes.
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Reader Count & Comments
29 Jul 2007
Joan, I must cut my time on FW short for now, but from what I have read of this, I know it is good. I am bookmarking it for later. Thanks for sharing.
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