Healing of the blind man at Bethsaida

There are several accounts in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) of Jesus giving sight to the blind.

  • Two blind men were healed (Matthew 9:27-31).
  • A blind, mute, demon-possessed man was healed by Jesus (Matthew 12:22).
  • Two blind men near Jericho were given sight (Matthew 20:29-34). It may be that the blind beggar named Bartimaeus was one of these (Mark 10:46-52).
  • A blind man was brought to Jesus at Bethsaida and healed (Mark 8:22-25).
  • The man who was blind from birth, and was told to go wash in the pool of Siloam in Jerusalem (John 9).

My eyes have experienced several problems over the past few years. I am fortunate to have received excellent care from a team of competent professionals. Earlier this week I had my first cataract surgery. I have been surprised that most of my friends who knew about the surgery asked “which eye?” I always said, “right,” but I wonder if their response would have been different if I had said “left.”

When you had your cataract surgery I thought it was minor and routine. When I had mine it was more serious! Actually it was not too difficult. I can tell that I see better in the right eye, but I must wait a couple of weeks to see what will be done about the lens I have been wearing before I will know how effective it has been. And then there is the left eye.

Well, all of this got me to thinking about the miracles of Jesus in the healing of the blind. One of the physicians at the clinic where I go has a nice piece of sculpture in his waiting area.

"Miracle of Sight" at Tampa Eye Clinic. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Miracle of Sight.

I suspect that this sculpture is based on the account of the blind man in John 9. It could possibly be the account of the man at Bethsaida (Mark 8).

Bethsaida is now identified with et-Tell. In with Jesus through Galilee according to the fifth Gospel, the late Bargil Pixner points out that the man was healed in stages. He then says,

The place of the healing near Bethsaida is marked today by a memorial stone on which two eyes have been chiselled, one half-closed and the other open brightly. (page 95)

I had the opportunity to meet Pixner once at Tabgha and have him autograph a copy of his book. I asked him if he knew how long the marker had been at the site. He told me exactly and then added, “I put it there.” You might like to see that memorial stone.

Memorial stone placed at Bethsaida by Bargil Pixner. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Memorial stone placed at Bethsaida by Bargil Pixner. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

4 responses to “Healing of the blind man at Bethsaida

  1. Pingback: Second century A.D. gold coin found at Bethsaida « Ferrell's Travel Blog

  2. Pingback: The Fifth Gospel | wejourney.net

  3. Pingback: The Fifth Gospel « Ferrell’s Travel Blog

  4. Ferrell – thanks for the post, and I pray that the Lord heals your eyes through surgery until that great day when we are completely healed.

    Concerning et-Tell, I think there are significant (insurmountable?) problems in identifying it as Bethsaida. Steven Notley wrote an article on this in Near Eastern Archaeology (2007) entitled, “Et-Tell is Not Bethsaida.” (I should write a follow-up article entitled, “Et-Tell is Not Ai,” but that’s another matter.)

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