They came to Bethsaida. There some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and begged him to touch him.
after potentially dividing words
we are still together on the way
to a next adventure
in familiar territory
in a desire for eternal stasis
we spit and fuss at one another
until a next need surfaces
and we engage
the left-out and left-over beggars
and those begging for them
re-ground our practice
in actual touch
This is likely the end of a first or second part of Mark. The earlier aborted trip to Bethsaida after the feeding of 5,000 and a storm, is now completed. We are now turning toward home with the question, “Do you still not understand?” still hanging in the air. Behind that discouraging question lies a prevenient hope.
Sure enough, the collective wisdom of Neighb*rly partnership comes through and an unnamed blind man is brought forward with the expectation of a touch, a healing.
Even as we move ahead we also pause to recollect the last healing just before a sequence of the feeding of 4,000 that brought forward a demand for an ever greater sign, a warning against the inherent spoilage of a monotheistic religion1, and the non-understanding of the Twelve.
Remember the deaf and essentially mute unnamed man that Jesus took aside and healed with the assistance of spit? We are now reprising those who come to hear, to see. They are brought, they have a retreat with Jesus, they accept being spat upon, and they find a desired healing. They come to understand their changed life.
Sabin157 sees a pattern in Mark:
…the two-stage healing of the blind man in 8:22–26 is a key to the theological design of Mark’s Gospel…. the Transfiguration in the middle. In the first part (chs. 1–8), the reader is like the blind man who at first only sees “people looking like trees” (8:24). In the second part (chs. 9–16), Mark repeats many of the same images, events, and themes, and the reader now sees them more plainly.
1 For monotheism’s autoimmune diseases of “God Intoxication” or “God Manipulation” that destroy an ethic of “nonindifference”—see Putting God Second: Saving Religion from Itself by Rabbi Donniel Hartman.