Solomon might as well have replied, “Lord, I am blind. I want to see,” like Bartimaeus, when God asked him one dark evening before his reign, “What do you want?” Because Solomon's answer was essentially the same. And in both cases God granted their wish. Which says something.
But the important point of the story, for Solomon as well as Bartimaeus--even though every Calvinist (who for some reason is determined everyone should be as sad and angry as John Calvin, believing with the Pharisees man was made for the Sabbath) would heartily disagree--is not whether God knew, or didn't know what Solomon wanted before He granted his wish, but rather, whether Solomon knew, or didn't know what Solomon wanted before He granted his wish. It has been long argued using the scriptures, by persons much smarter than I, how gravely important it should be to me that God knows what I want. But what it is not arguable in the scriptures is how important it is to God that I know what I want. God actually knows what I want: sure, I'm not debating that. I'm simply pointing out that even if it is awe-inspiring and comforting; it isn't very helpful. But what is helpful, because God knows it's helpful, is if I actually know what I want. God implies in His question and answer session with Solomon: not only is it wise to answer the question, "What do you want?" correctly, but also foolish to answer incorrectly. He leaves no room for the arbitrary answer. So if I answer, “I want a long life,” it reveals not how wise I almost am, but how foolish I certainly am. God seems to say it is not merely wishful thinking, or positive thinking, or maybe even a slight overreach in powerful thinking to desire all my enemies to be defeated, but profoundly foolish thinking—not because wishing for their defeat makes me wrong, but because it makes me weak; that it is not only wishful thinking or forward thinking to desire wealth, but foolish thinking—not because wishing for wealth makes me wrong, but because it makes me cheap. Therefore the wisest man in all the world answers not, “I want to see long life,” or “I want to see all my enemies defeated,” or, “I want to see wealth,” but instead, “Lord, I am blind. I just want to see,” in a sense, see everything. Because when a man finally sees everything, one of the first thing he sees is how little things are. Because he simply sees, for example, he sees how little a thing like a man’s net worth is. He sees low enough to see the infinite wealth adorning a lily of the field. And in the very next instant the foolish man who once saw his own life and the terrifying and inevitable death thereof, as a tragedy of incalculable loss, now sees with wisdom his life is no larger or more important than a lily plucked from the soil worth ten thousand of Solomon’s kingdoms and tossed away in the breeze.
Once again, the Pharisees seem to think that man began with multiple wives and harems, and that Moses’ law moved him towards a more perfect knowledge of the complexities and impossibilities of marriage and divorce and adultery. But Jesus says, “Actually, no. Marriage was possible, and perfect, and perfectly understood between God and man and woman at the beginning. Moses’ law only came at the end of mankind’s long crepitant movement away from perfection; from what God had made possible and you made impossible. Your hardened hearts required complex etchings of symbols on stone for laws that, in ages long past, had been easily stitched on softer hearts.”
If you’re going to find a thing then you better know exactly what you’re looking for or, one: you’ll miss it; or two: you’ll think you’ve found it and stop looking.
But what if you don’t exactly know what you are looking for? Then you must be open to the possibility that it is you who will be found by it. And so your searching must be one of readiness and humility. Life is a seeking and a finding.
Is mirror that doesn’t look like a mirror.
It reflects but not all at once it slowly turns slowly focuses
The best symbol annihilates itself. Annihilates the self.
Although sad and alienating, it is at least commonly known that many people walking through life with you simply wander too far away to be seen anymore. But what is no less sad and alienating, far less commonly known, and obviously far more dangerous, is that quite a few wander too close--becoming trapped in the sticky, frustrating glob that is you and your world. Easily hiding under your nose so high in the air, always getting under your over-sized feet, never free of your goo, unable to walk far enough away to be seen. It is a great and terrible thing that a savior comes with a sword to cleave, separating brother from brother, wielding the only weapon magical enough to slice the unsliceable so you can finally hate enough to love.
A stumbling block would not be a very effective one if it was at all noticeable. Even a mediocre stumbling block needs to be hidden. A wicked stumbling block has to be incredibly hidden. Deadly, precisely because it mimics a clear path. Otherwise it would be obvious, not stumbled upon, and therefore, only a block in the road to go around. In a sense, it is just the same to say stumbling will inevitably occur when the one walking the path is massively blind but arrogantly thinks he isn't. And the most wicked part: The blind and arrogant Walker places the stumbling block in front of himself. Hides a clear path from his own self. That is why the stumbling block looks just like God.
Those who mourn and repent will be saved. Those who don’t will be destroyed.
Those who mourn and repent for all the detestable things going on inside the temple will be saved.
The one out of seven—the writer—the marker—will mark the foreheads of those who mourn. And they will be spared. The other six are warriors who will pursue and destroy everyone else.
Similar to Cain’s mark, in a way. Tied to Seven and Multiples of seven.
It also connects to Paul’s Road to Damascus/ lightening bolt experience. A question lurks within: Is it a curse or a blessing to be spared? To see. To see your blindness. To be blind. To live knowing of your murderous heart. It is to be Cain. “Why did I live?” It is to be Paul and suddenly know, as if struck in the head with one of Stephen’s stones, of the detestable practices inside your own temple.
It is to be marked in the head with a lightening scar. To be the boy who lived. To be this thing that cannot be killed from the outside. The mark brings with it seven-fold mayhem and seven hoarcruxes of death. The blood soaking in the earth moans and screams in your ears.
What is this mark then?
Is it a mark for life or death?
Both, in a way. The ego, my divine mark, as such, can not be killed from the outside. It may be flattened, squeezed, shattered, shrunk, and kicked; but it cannot be killed. Yet my strange invincibility also chains me to Death; brings death to the world; both the Death I cause and the Death I escape. What to do with this marked thing? This monstrosity of consciousness. Touched by hate, and love and choice. Marked in a place visible to myself in a mirror only. What now? This mark! What to do about it? What now?!
There is only one solution: Death.
Death to the undying ego--death to the undead.
But since the almighty God himself has protected the bearer of this mark, like Job, from outside asphyxiation by Satan, the only possible death left to me is death by oxygenation, conflagration, immolation, and explosion; death by life, death by Christ--a death by my own voluntary choice.
Only by laying down, only in letting go, only by a Way hidden in the pattern of flaming blades swirling over Eden, may the marked one become finally and forever accessible to his Savior—Breaking the chains of death. Bringing Life in the Savior. Bringing life to the world.
What is the mark?
It is a mark for redemption.
The solution to any problem is not to get rid of the problem.
Then the problem really never goes away.
The solution to a problem involves water. It is a “solution.” It is a solute dissolved by water into a mixture. Solid becomes liquid. One state of matter into another.
It is solvent. Liquid. It is mixture. It is admixture. It is integration of the problem INTO yourself. It is ingestion. To change. To change. To change. To grow. Which is life. Not sterility. Not shooing. Not eschewing. Change (real knowing, real growth, becoming new) cannot occur without acceptance of the problem. An answer given —as opposed to found or realized--is not a solution: it is a cheat. It simply sweeps the actual problem aside, stunting growth and multiplying the problem in the future. The answer to any problem is not the same as the solution to that problem. An answer is only a thought, an idea or a concept that sits all alone on the other side of an equation to null it out. The solution to the problem is the miraculous combination of the problem with the answer. This admixture must include two other elements: you and that which transcends you (that which without which there is no which). The solution includes the learning that came with it. It is the understanding that you must drink the poisoned cup you do not want as the antedate for the eating the poisoned apple you did want. It is now part of the body.
Here lies more firmament: The problems and these elements were always there, it is just that you did not know it. They can neither be created nor destroyed. It is what is called the problem of problems, and it always lurks inside your conscious awareness floating at the edge of your vision near the realm of the unconscious, waiting to become fully realized. The Answer exists completely in the realm outside of your vision…waiting to be let in…waiting to be part of the solution.
The profound questions to answer are not “what is the problem?” And “who am I?”
Rather, it is the reverse:
“Who is the problem?” And “what am I?”
Water--the living water--dissolves things. It tells you things you did not know about yourself. The woman at the well came into direct contact with a deeper well and drew forth the kind of water containing the unconscious elements of not so much “who she was,” but more fundamentally “what she was” and “whose she was.” Bringing what was once swimming in the darkness below, up to her conscious world.
This is the effect of living water.
It opens your eyes. It descales the build up of chalky deposits blinding the vision of eyes exposed to shallow well-water. Blindness is the result of eating the apple of “I can choose what I want for better or worse!” A power which opens the eye to one's conscious self, but shuts it to everything else. Only by drinking the cup filled with aqua vitae can the sleeping eye awaken.
Living water is a thermal barrier within the cold depths of the sea; the barrier between the death of beasts and life of fishes. It is a barrier that must be passed through to arrive where you always were.
Living water stops thirst. It quenches the fire of egoic desire. “I I I!” and “want want want!” finally become, “I’m not thirsty anymore. Do you still thirst?”
Living water is much more related to afterdeath, which is today, than afterlife, which is tomorrow.
Living water turns the end into the beginning--and the beginning into the end. "The first shall be last and the last shall be first." It reverses conscious awareness’ tendency to separate these "two points" as far as possible on a line from one another; and then celebrate this long-distance marriage as a hard, crusty thing called an event. It turns the alpha and the omega of the Wedding at Cana into the circle it always was.
I destroyed my own city walls in darkness. In blindness, I self-destructed. The anger of the Lord had smitten me. Eventually the walls were repaired--but not by me.
Who repaired them?
But only as I began to wake up to my brokenness and see the world with new eyes--see it as God does—with love. I saw the healing that is possible if I ministered to others in their sickness as Christ did. And it was ONLY then that my broken city walls began to be repaired.
In the healing of others I am healed.
Now I understand that my Temple of Beauty is not desecrated by the world, but beautified by it. As brokenness is redeemed, glory shines round consecrating all within its glow.
The idea in Isaiah 60 is that the protection and security we really want in life (the city walls) are best achieved and maintained, not by arrogantly hiding behind false walls, but by shining forth the Glory of God like the noonday sun in a dark world. It is His love pouring outward from our temple towards the world that protects the temple on all sides. God’s love and light is both vanguard and rearguard. The gates can now stand open in every moment of life, in every reality, on the other side of every choice, marching into every future and promised land. And the enemy we once walled off with exhaustive effort—piling and plugging stone after ugly stone into every defect—become friends and fellow workers repairing our crumbling walls without any effort of our own.