It’s a dusty, horrible existence. The roads in Jericho aren’t paved they way they are in Rome. And people pass all day, kicking up dust. It gets in your mouth and your nose. When I would wash myself in the evenings, I would find dust in places I didn’t know I had.
Some days, you do ok. Someone gives you a few coins, a piece of bread, a little fish or some lamb. You make due. Most days, you get nothing but crumbs. You wake up hungry, you spend all day hungry and you go to sleep hungry. Hungry and dusty. And tired. And sunburned.
People are interesting. Some people ignore you. You are no more than a rock or shrub to them. Some people want to ignore you, but they can’t. But they also don’t want to give you anything so they stop talking and pass real quiet. They don’t realize that you can still hear their feet. Some people are cruel. They believe that you must have done something to deserve being blind. They call you names and spit at you. Of course some people are kind. Joshua, the little boy that lives in the house next to us, he’s the one that brings us to the road everyday. If he finds berries or honey, he always brings us some. He was also the one that told us about the healer.
He said there was a man. A man of great wisdom who was teaching in Jericho. He told us that the man had God’s gift to heal all kinds of things. He took us to the road they day the healer was leaving town. When we heard the healer passing, we cried for mercy. Others tried to quiet us but we cried louder. He heard us and he approached us. He asked what we wanted and we told him we wanted to be healed. I could feel him looking at us. Studying us. I could hear it in his voice when he spoke to us. Compassion. He touched my eyes, and when he moved his hands, I could see. My friend Zechariah and I danced by the road and we cried for joy.
Today, they dragged the healer through the street. He was beaten so badly that I don’t know that I would have recognized him if I hadn’t been told it was him. He carried a big wooden cross. He was so weak. He could barely stand. Zechariah and I stood by the side of the road and watched the soldiers parade the prisoners through the town. Three men were led through, but he was the only one who was beaten like that. He was the only one who left a trail of blood. If there had been anything, ANYTHING, we could have done to help him we would have. But armed Roman soldiers held us back with the rest of the crowd. The healer was led out of our sight and my friend Zechariah stood by the road and we cried.