Matthew and Luke copied this story about the cure of Jericho’s blind man, but their accounts lack Mark’s personal knowledge. Mark wrote as though we all had become personal friends of Timaeus and his son who had been blind.
On first Thursday or Friday I used to bring Communion to a man on Dellwood who had stories about Jericho. Michael Sueda came from Jerusalem, and before the Jews took his property in 1946 he used to drive tourists around the Holy Land’s sights. He said he spent as little time as possible in Jericho because it is the world’s lowest lying city, and the heat there makes the flies unbearable.
Bartimaeus, brushing away flies as he squatted in the dust at the side of the road had a miserable life.
Hearing the hubbub, and repeatedly asking “What are those people passing by?” he at last got the answer that it was the crowd following Jesus the wonder worker. That was enough to turn him to shouting, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me!”
“Shut up, you fool!” people told him over and over; but he kept shouting, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on!” Then, unbelievably, he heard what had to be the master say, “Call him over.”
The people told him that Jesus was calling him, but he didn’t need any word from them. Throwing off his cloak, he jumped up, and plunged blindly through the crowd.
“What do you want me to do for you?”
“Master, I want to see.”
Immediately he had his first sight of this world, and though Jesus said, “Go your way” he didn’t go his way. He followed Jesus up the road, becoming a familiar friend to St. Mark and all the original disciples.