Monday, February 11, 2008

The Road to Siloam

So, I heard them talking.

I heard what they were saying and I’m wondering if maybe it’s true. It might be--that I’m this way because God is punishing me. Either for something my parents did or something I did. Or was going to do.

Or something I’m doing right now.

So maybe they’re right.

But he told them no, that a bigger reason was at work, and I wondered if his hint was a riddle or a promise. Then he touched me. With mud on my eyes and strong words in my ears, “Go to the Pool of Siloam,” he said. “And wash.”

And so I left him. In the darkness I’ve always known, I left him. And now I’m on the road wondering why.

The people around me, the ones I’ve been asking for directions, they tell me I’m close. The pool is just up ahead.

I took the first few steps full of raw excitement. I really hoped he could do something for me no one else could ever do, but eventually, with more steps came more doubt. Maybe this was all just another joke that those with eyes to see were playing on me. All a game to mock the man born blind.

So why am I still walking? I’m not sure. The trip has become something of an obligation. A way of going through the motions so that those who heard his words won’t ask me, “So why didn’t you go all the way? You never know. He might have actually opened your eyes.”

I can hear the splashing water. The pool is just ahead.

Something will happen when I wash my eyes. Either my infant hope will die forever, or a new kind of life will be born.

They tell me I’ve arrived. The pool is at my feet.

I bend down.

I’m not proud of the trip, my doubts, my weak efforts to hold onto the faith I first had in his words. But now I’m here.

My fingers tremble as I reach forward and feel the cool water swirling, swirling right in front of me.

Either simple water. Or a mystery as deep as my past. All I need to do is wash. That’s what he told me to do.

I don’t know what’ll happen.

As I lean forward I feel a flicker of fear that I’ve made the journey for nothing.

And so now, my hope and doubt mix together into a fumbling prayer as I dip my hands into the water.

And lift them to my face.

(See John 9:1-7)

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