December 29 – See
They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 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 8:22-25
Fresh from feeding four thousand, Jesus and His motley crew entered Bethesda. Jesus came in feeling far from refreshed though, for He was greatly grieving. Though many had been fed, His disciples were still struggling to be satisfied.
Moved by compassion, Jesus wanted to provide for the people who had been with Him. His mighty men went weak when faced with feeding. They asked Jesus how they could find enough bread in such a remote place.
Gatherers and collectors all, the men could not pull it together. Not from themselves.
After the people present with Jesus were fed, the Pharisees came with test and trap. They wanted another sign, so they might prove He was a problem.
With a sigh that came straight from his heart, he said, “Why does this generation want a sign? Yes! I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation!” Mark 8:12
A sigh straight from His heart. Doesn’t that just break yours? From a deep grief in the heart of Heaven this breath came. Jesus wanted to give all He had, but those around Him were still trying to find a formula, so they could do for themselves what only He could. There was much to resurrect.
Jesus once more took time to teach the disciples, asking if they did not yet have eyes to see and ears to hear. Could they not yet remember?
Now in Bethesda, Jesus would not only heal, but reveal the answer to their questions.
Isaiah described Bethesda as a place of gloom and distress. Until Jesus. Then those walking in darkness would see a great light, those living in a land of deep darkening would see dawn as it approached.
The people, awaiting light, brought a man blind and begged Jesus to break through. He, sure to save, took the man by the hand and led him to a remote place, outside the city. What a moment of intrigue! The disciples had just complained about remote places. Could anyone actually be fed within one?
Before the four thousand were fed, Jesus led a deaf man to a remote spot and opened his ears. Now after that miraculous meal, in a secret spot, He led the blind man away.
Before, during, and after, ever the same. If only the disciples could see.
A Hebrew noun for remote means, “sign, signboard, name, nameplate.”
Jesus didn’t want to give the man a simple sign. He wanted to give him a name. His name. For He doesn’t come to gratify, but to graft.
Oh the way He grafts! So generous! So great!
A few years ago, Pappa led me to a grafting place, where my own deep sighs could release my griefs to Him. This sweet spot is a tree in a remote part of our homeland.
While there one day, I was remembering His goodness, all the while I was reckoning with something. A question, really, that wouldn’t stop its asking. Had I done something to hurt Pappa’s heart? I was struggling to imagine walking through the part of our story we were in, if I hadn’t.
My asking of “What have I done?” was met with silence. Until He spoke through my person. To take my turmoil, Pappa said simply, “You haven’t.”
What I had done though, was hide that question away for many days-turned-year, until it began to eat away at me. And kept me from Him.
Sitting at the grafting tree that day, I remembered the story of the blind man who saw trees.
The first thing Jesus did was to lead the man outside the village. Outside, in this scripture means, “silence.” He took the man to silence, a protected place, away from all else and began to heal him.
Jesus led him to the silence. Where He takes us, is ever better than where we have ever been.
Bethesda means “house of mercy” and “house of flowing water.” In the village there were many pools placed for healing, yet Jesus used His saliva to heal. Maybe the water within Him was a bit more substantial than the water without.
After watering the man’s dry land, Jesus asked him what he saw. Not if He saw, but what he saw! So certain is our Savior!
The man said he saw men as trees, walking.
The source of my great grief at the grafting tree was a deep loss. A year before, we had granted back to Heaven three little people given to us, who we called the little trees. They left nearly as suddenly as they had come.
My specific query that day was about a vision I had when pregnant with the trees, as I was walking Arubbah on a different day. I was coming close to my person’s grafting tree, when the vision began. It was so real, I had to stop. To one of our trees, Pappa gave the name Aspen.
In the vision, Aspen was running ahead of me. She turned to me and said, “Momma, why do you call us the trees? We don’t look like these trees.” I replied, “Oh, no honey, you look like Heaven trees and these are earthy ones.”
In that moment, I didn’t really know what I was expressing to her or myself. As time passed, I recognized that every time I praise Him, I get to hold their hands, because trees in Heaven can hang upside down. Now I know too, that you can live an entire life with someone you only have moments with.
The blind man had a similar experience. He saw things as they were in Heaven. A people purely planted and deeply rooted. Just as Heaven intended, a glimpse of what was yet to be. The man’s need could only be truly met if he was joined to Jesus, seeing through His eyes.
Since this story is in Mark, which represents the Servant Covenant, I find and am found in the truth that the greatest way we serve Him is to see Him clearly.
Jesus touched the man’s eyes a second time (the number of covenant) not because He failed the first time, but because there was more to see.
The story says that then, the man looked up. I could not love this more! He wasn’t looking at the world around him, but the place that had become his world. Jesus. Looking at Jesus, the man, healed and whole, could see the world as Jesus did! He could clearly see. Men walking. Mankind being moved.
That is what our response to go to remote spaces, protected places, where it is only our heart and His, brings. The ability to see Him clearly. And the capacity to see and be part of what He clearly wants to restore.
Restore in Hebrew is teshuva. When we see clearly, we are restored. We return. Men want to see things from a physical perspective, but Jesus came that we could see from the spiritual.
In the moment when my favorite Storyteller, told me the story afresh of the blind man, He said, “I’m trusting you to see. You ALL to see. I want you to look at the things you haven’t been willing to, but when you do, you will step into what eye has not seen.”
In our world, we look for the immediately gratifying activities, while resisting contemplation and quiet. We buffer ourselves with natural explanations, instead of being drawn to the supernatural of God. He grafts, so we will find grateful.
He doesn’t graft us to grief, but into that which completes it. Joy. Simple moments of silence, birth joy full of sound and celebration.
Along the way to joy, I have been more fully entering into His sorrow and the things that hurt His heart. I think the blind man of Bethesda was invited to the same. He not only had his own need met, but was able to see the need of Jesus, in His heart for the rest of the world. Shared grief finds satisfied sorrow, and joy comes and completes.
This experience and expression with Him is crucial, because it takes us out of the divide of the world (and ourselves) and into unity with Him.
Grafted and grateful, I realized in those moments that I had in fact given myself unto grief, but not to grieve with Him. I hadn’t allowed my grief to be something I truly shared with Him, though I was talking with Him about it.
This is when silence became sustenance for me. When I began inviting Him to share the experience with me, where He could share what He was feeling about all of this journey. I realized I didn’t just want to feel better, I wanted to complete His grief as He was completing mine. With joy (a covenant of our trees).
In silence, true stillness, I recognized He was grieving too.
The tree Pappa had drawn me to for grieving and grafting, had quite a bald or bare spot.
And Pappa showed me this.
One of the main Hebrew words used for tree in scripture comes from the root word of grief, nacham. This word is used in Genesis 6:6 when it says,
“His heart was deeply troubled.”
This tree laid bare, was place of shade where I could sit silent, consider and contemplate. There, I recognized I was grafted by His wound. And mine. This was the place of healing.
He drew my heart to Song of Songs 4:9 where it says:
“You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.”
With one look, He is ravished. The Hebrew word for ravished is shagel meaning, “captured, captivated, charmed and wounded.”
Shagel comes from the same root word “tearing the bark from a tree” originates from. If you tear bark from a tree, you are wounding the tree, for the bark is skin. The bark protects the tree including its circulatory system, which brings energy back to leaves. Without bark, the tree is vulnerable.
Just one glance, one look of love towards Him, causes Him to tear the bark from His heart, willingly making it vulnerable to us, giving us a place to be grafted. From the beginning, He made His heart unguarded for those He created. He willingly wounds Himself, so we can be grafted to how He feels, so we can feel with Him and be healed. Complete connection.
There is a difference between His heart being exposed and broken. It breaks when we “go to bed with” another god or find distractions, other things, more alluring than Him. That which pulls our attention away and lessens our desire and devotion. It bonds when we come to Him with our heart equally exposed or open.
A Hebrew word for quiet is shaqat and means “to be quiet or undisturbed, calm, at rest, in peace.” It also means “to grant Him relief or rest.”
If we are bombarded, we are unable to hear God’s voice. Silence enables us to hear and the supernatural becomes more natural than the natural. And He rests. With us.
Silence with God allows us to experience His sorrows and delights for the world.
The man made merry, now had much to see and a new way to go. I’ve wondered often, because he immediately recognized trees and men, if the man had not always been blind. I wonder if his life had been spent grieving what he once had, longing for it. Through healed and hoped, he joined Jesus in the ache of what was yet to be. What a thing to be met by the longing of Heaven and the ache of earth.
On that day, I think the disciples began to see more clearly too.
HIS NAME – JEHOVAH
Jehovah is the God of all the earth. The one who leads us to consider the world beyond ourselves. The world He sees, hears, knows and loves. The world he grieves and delights over.
Another meaning of this name, Jehovah, is “to become” or “He causes to become.”
I call this name, when I know there is much more to see. When I am on my way to a better version of me, full of Heaven’s intent and His help.
We are still becoming. What a glorious thing. We need Him still. This is why He invites us to be still.
I am so grateful for the invitation to come to Jehovah. To come to the quiet place where I am inserted so fully into His heart. One and wondered.
Ornament Art – Fare