“Have mercy on us, give us some money. Have mercy on u-”
Rote words, that was what they were. We had become so used to them that we didn’t need to think to say them. It was a song we sang day and night, a song I was tired of singing but had no choice but keep singing.
We continued chanting those words rhythmically, some fellow beggars even clapped and others drummed on their bowls, just to make it more plausible. But no matter how melodious, a beggar’s song is a beggar’s song.
I was still singing half-heartedly when I heard a noise from a distance. Thuds of footfalls that sounded like a thousand horses were hoofing their way through a battle field, I heard excited screams, words I couldn’t make sense of. The others must have heard it too, as we all stopped singing abruptly.
“Jasneth, what’s that?” I asked, alarm creeping up my spine. Jasneth was the cripple that sat across from me on the other side of the road. We always made a cool symbiotic duo, whenever there was danger or a need to move. He had the eyes, I had the feet. So I’d give him a piggyback ride while he gave directions. That was how we survived, even when we had to move from within the town of Jericho to the outskirts, that was how we made it.
“It’s Jesus, and a thronging multitude.” Jasneth replied.
“Jesus?!” We -myself and Bilhah- exclaimed. Bilhah was also blind and he usually sat next to me. Maybe it’s because of our common impairment, but somehow we seemed to share thoughts.
The others continued singing.
“Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David!” I said. Bilhah joined me and we continued repeating the words.
I could hear the footsteps draw nearer and we continued repeating our earnest plea.
“Shush! Is it your type that Jesus would heal?” Someone jeered at us and some of the multitude snickered.
“You would live and die blind, nothing would ever change that!”
“Just keep quiet and let’s have our peace!”
We didn’t keep quiet. We paid no attention to the caustic remarks, nor to the people trying to smother us or even the growing snigger in the crowd. Instead we raised our voice yet higher, we had to raise our voice above the din of the multitude, above the song of other beggars. We had to get Jesus’ attention.
I could feel my vocal chords strain against my neck skin, like it was going to snap.
“What will ye that I should do for you?” His voice was so tender, so calm and soothing.
“That our eyes may be opened.” We chorused.
Silence. I could feel lots of eyes boring through me.
I felt a light weight on my eye lids, as though a man’s fingers were on them, then the weight was no more. When my eyes popped open I saw Jesus leaning over me, his hands gradually retreating from my eyes.
I blinked a few more times before screaming, ‘I can see!’ with all excitement. Bilhah was screaming the same thing. I looked around me, I saw the other beggars, they were still singing the beggars song. Aren’t they tired of this song? I wondered. Some of the multitude crouched to drop tokens in their bowls and some were even callous enough to pick from the bowls of some blind beggars. What a wretched life. I shook my head. That was the kind of life I was leading. I knew that I had to leave that kind of life. I looked at Bilhah, our eyes met, he smiled and we both sprang up.
We knew immediately that we had no better choice but to follow the man who had made us whole, who gave us a new song, Jesus.
This is an adapted form of a bible story. The original record is in Matthew 20:29-34. But before I go, let’s point out a few lessons from the above narrative.
- The first thing to note about the blind men is that they were dissatisfied with their condition. You will remain at the same point until you see a need to move. Are you comfortable with the life of sin? Do you want to keep on enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin? Are you satisfied with the pity of passers-by, with the peanuts they drop in your bowl? Are you content with being spiritually blind?
Until you have a distaste for your present state, it wouldn’t change.
- ‘No matter how melodious, a beggar’s song is a beggar’s song.’ that’s just the fact. No matter how well packaged, no matter how much it’s accepted by the world, no matter how logical it is to the human mind, sin is sin. And no sinner would ever see God!
- The mutualistic relationship that existed between Jasneth and the narrator, shows that the place of unity in the body of Christ can never be over emphasized, for ones disability is another’s ability.
- The blind men cried out to Jesus. For how long will you struggle all by yourself? When will you reach the end of your road and cry out to Jesus?
- People tried to howl the blind men down. Opposition would always come, what matters is how you handle it. Will you let opposition silence you or will you raise your voice- like the blind men did- above it? When opposition comes rev up, don’t wind down. Rev up your cry to the Lord, rev up your faith.
- The blind men followed Jesus. Rise up and do same.