Bartimaeus was a man who new exactly what his problem was. And because he knew it, he also knew what life, problem solved, would look like. And a man who knows this—knows exactly his problem and can see the other side, this other life—is a unique man, maybe the most, in all the world. He will stand out and shout to the crowd, “I know something now!”
Because a man who finally knows his problem finally knows its answer, or might, or something of it, and draws closer to it. He to It and It to him. The answer is, strangely, and, in part, finally seeing both things, maybe loving both things, certainly accepting both things: problem and answer. It is a faith, a realization, a sight before sight, a sight while yet blind. And somehow through this one and only possible vision in blindness: truly seeing the utter darkness; through this one and only possible health of sickness: finally accepting the fatal illness; through this one and only possible heartbeat of the heartless: at last reaching out and feeling the beating heart of another; the troubled soul begins to know the troubler of souls is near. Answer calls to answer: like calls to like: Seer of his own sightlessness calls out to the Giver of sight who, in turn, calls out to the seer of his own sightlessness. The two meet. They will meet. They must.
It is the beginning of Faith. It is local and particular—as beginnings only are and only can be. Faith does not begin abstracted out to a distant philosophy or mythical something far off in the future, then walk slowly backwards to end at a very concrete, very practical and very alive now. Rather now is first. Now is the dawn of Faith, not its dusk. Blind Bartimaeus’ faith instantly shines a broad and universal daylight; instantly reaches philosophical and mythic proportions. Not the other way around. The question is immediate—right now—just like it’s answer:
“What do you want me to do for you, Bartimaeus?”
“Teacher, I am blind. I want to see.”
“Your faith has healed you.”
Immediately he received sight and followed Jesus along the road.