By: Tyler Sit
April 04, 2014
“I do know that right then—as I was squelching through my own mud—that Jesus was causing me to see the world anew.”
It was the kind of mud that squelched as you stepped, with brown water submerging your shoe at each pass. All hopes for getting away clean were quickly abandoned, and my friends and I couldn’t help but laugh as our boots stuck.
A few men looked at us curiously from the distance, but otherwise we were alone—prime time for the voice of God to come through. The water beamed from the afternoon sun and the shimmer on the lake was punctuated by a massive flocks of black birds. It was around then—that moment when I was completely covered in muck and struggling toward the lakeshore—that I snapped into spiritual awareness.
You know what I’m talking about: the details become sharper, the air more moist, the sunlight more golden. I stepped away from my friends and fell into prayer—gratitude for the birds, praise for the horizon’s maker—and calibrated my breath to the water lapping the shore.
The story of Jesus healing a blind man came to mind. Rather than Jesus immediately healing him, he spat into the earth, made mud, and smeared it on the blind man’s eyes. The blind man apparently didn’t mind the surprise facial too much, or at least he forgot to complain once he started seeing for the first time.
A friend of mine asked a question a lot of contemporary folks have when reading the Bible: did that really happen? Did that man really regain his sight? Of course, I can’t say for sure (I wasn’t there), but I do know that in that moment on the lake, I was glad that the Bible offers these images so that I could fold my own life into this ancient story—a story that has brought people to life for thousands of years.
I do not know if Jesus “really” healed a man’s eyes with mud, but I do know that right then—as I was squelching through my own mud—that Jesus was causing me to see the world anew. What else do I need to know?
Tyler Sit is a seminarian at Candler School of Theology who is pursuing ordination in The United Methodist Church. His interests include embodied theology, environmental justice, and photography.