Javascript is used to edit round corners of different sections and help users move to the top of web pages. It will not hinder users' web browsing activity.
circle cape rectangular decorative photos circle cape rectangular decorative photos

Font :

  1. S
  2. M
  3. L
  4. XL


  1. Facebook icon
  2. Plurk icon
  3. Twitter icon

“Come, Leah, it is time to get up. Today is the first day of the week. Travelers will soon be going through the city gates and you must get me to my begging place before someone else takes it.”

“Yes of course, Papa. Do I have time to eat something before leading you there?”

“Grab the orange. You can eat it at the gate.”

“Have you eaten anything, Papa?”

“No, there’s nothing else today. After I’ve received a few pennies you can buy me some bread.”

Leah led her father out to the west gate of the city of Jericho to the place right at the entrance where travelers would be most likely to stop and give him a few pennies. Making sure he was comfortable, she stepped to the opposite side, several yards outside the gate, sat down on a rock and ate her orange.

Soon travelers were coming through the gate. Leah marveled again at her father’s hearing. He knew just the right time to say, “Alms, alms for the blind.” Most travelers would hurry on by, but a few would stop and drop one or more pennies onto the cloth in front of him. “Sabbath and the day after Sabbath are the best days for alms,” her father had often said. “People are more aware of God’s concern for the poor and the blind on those days.”

Sure enough, within an hour Bartimaeus, Leah’s father, had pennies enough to give Leah to buy a loaf of bread. After eating half the loaf Leah brought him, he said, “Leah, I need you to do something for me. I need you to go to grandpa Timaeus’ house to get some more food for us. I must stay here and pray that someone will be kind and maybe give me a whole dollar.

I know how scary it is for you to cross the Jordan river but we need vegetables from your grandpa’s farm. I’m not getting enough alms to keep us alive. Take the rest of this loaf, stop at home and get the sackcloth and go.

“How will I cross the Jordan River, Papa? I always ride across on your back.”

“You will have to ask someone else to carry you, Leah,” Bartimaeus answered. “Pick a strong man, a big man, a man who is traveling with his wife.”

“How will you get home if I’m not here to lead you?” Leah asked.

“I have memorized the number of steps and each way to turn to get home,” her father answered. Don’t worry about me. Depending on how long it takes you to get a ride across the Jordan, you should arrive at Grandpa’s house by sunset. Now go.”

Tears were running down Leah’s cheeks, but she swallowed hard, then in her strongest voice she said, “Don’t you worry about me either, Papa. I’ll come back tomorrow night with the vegetables.”

Bartimaeus didn’t know it, but Leah’s eyesight was also getting very blurry, and her tears didn’t make seeing any easier. But by the time she reached their house her tears had dried and she had no problem finding the sackcloth. Going east from Jericho, she reached the Jordan river in about two hours. Stopping to eat some of the bread, she watched and waited in the shade of a tree. Travelers would stop, remove their sandals, lift their robes up over their waist and begin walking across the river. It was shallow enough that none of the travelers got wet above their waists.

All the travelers she saw looked way too scary to trust with a ride, so after more than an hour Leah walked down to the water’s edge, took off her sandals, lifted her robe above her waist, and started wading into the river. But just a few feet from the bank, unaware of how water makes people much lighter, she slipped, lost her footing and was immediately in over her head. Instinctively she tried to push herself up so she could breathe, but the sackcloth on her back kept her face under water. Struggling to get the sackcloth away from her face, she felt her foot hit a rock on the bottom. She pushed hard against it, and her head came up just long enough for her to catch a breath. Then just as she was pulled under water again, she felt a hand grab her arm and pull her up. She was still clinging to her sackcloth, but her sandals were gone. Looking up Leah saw a big, strong man with kind eyes holding her, and right next to him a woman reaching out to her.

“Hey, little lady,” the man said as he and the woman lifted her out of the river, this is no place for someone as little as you to be. Where are you going?”

Spitting out dirty water and coughing, she answered, “I’m going to my grandpa’s house. Would you mind carrying me across the river on your back? That’s what my father has always done.”

“Of course,” said the man, “But where is your father? Why isn’t he here to carry you?”

“My father’s in Jericho,” Leah answered, and couldn’t come on this trip.

Squatting down low the stranger said, “Climb on, little lady. We’ll get you across the river.”

The crossing was slow because the river was steady and the rocks on the bottom were slippery. Several times Leah felt the stranger slip and then recover, but they finally walked out of the water on the other side.

When the stranger had put her down, Leah said, “Thank you both for saving me and getting me across the river.” Then then asked the stranger his name.

“My name is Judas and my wife is Salome, he answered. We are traveling this way to meet my brother, a Rabbi, who is coming from Galilee. I’m glad we came along when we did.”

That evening, just before sunset, Leah arrived at her grandpa Timaeus’ farm. Both her grandparents were so happy to see her. Her grandmother, Sarah, had been preparing dinner, and there was plenty for Leah too. There was roast lamb, three kinds of vegetables, and so much fruit. Leah was so hungry she ate like someone twice her size! After dinner she sat at the table and listened as her grandparents told her stories of her birth, and about her father and mother.

Early the next morning, after a full night’s sleep, Leah left for Jericho with her sackcloth full of vegetables and fruit. The walk from Bethany Beyond Jordan the previous day had taken Leah nearly three hours. But now, carrying the heavy sackcloth, it took her four hours to get down to the edge of town.

There was a crowd of people standing where the end of the road became the beginning of a street. As she walked up to the back of the crowd, she heard someone in the middle teaching. Leaning in to hear better she heard him say, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

At that moment Leah noticed Judas and Salome close to the teacher. She wanted to go to them but the way was too crowded, so she waited.

Then there was movement in front of her, and she saw some of the adults taking their children to the teacher. Now she could see Judas and Salome and the teacher. But some of the men standing near him started telling the adults to back off and not bother him. Then she heard the teacher say, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

At that moment, Judas came striding across the space toward Leah, and picking her up, sackcloth and all, he turned around and took her to the teacher. Setting her down in front of him, Judas untied Leah’s sackcloth and gently pushed her toward where he sat. The teacher reached out, lifted her onto his lap, and wrapping his arms around her, looked deeply into her eyes. Putting his right hand over her forehead and eyes, he said, “I bless you, child.” He took his hand off her face and looked into her eyes again. She could see him clearly; he wasn’t blurry! She looked back at Judas and Salome. She could see them clearly too. She looked beyond them west to the mountains - they were clear too!

Leah looked back into the teacher’s face. He smiled, and she put her arms around his neck and asked, “Who are you?”

“I am Jesus, Son of David.”

“I love you, Jesus, Son of David!” she said.

He squeezed her and as he helped her down he whispered, “I love you too.”

Judas picked up Leah’s sackcloth and asked, “Are you going back to Jericho now?”

“Yes,” Leah replied.

“If you can wait a few minutes, Jesus, his disciples and others of us will be going there too. I can carry you back across the river if you would like.”

“Thank you,” Leah said. “This time I promise not to get you all wet.” Judas insisted on carrying Leah’s sackcloth full of food as well as his own sackcloth. As they walked together several of the men in the group talked with Leah, asking her questions, answering hers and laughing together. But what excited her most was being able to see them - and everything - so clearly.

Entering Jericho through the east gate, the men turned off the street at a corner and stopped. Judas told Leah that in the morning they would walk through Jericho and up to Jerusalem, so Leah thanked him and Salome again, and taking her sackcloth from Judas, said good-by to Jesus and the rest of the group. Walking on alone she went through the city to her house.

Opening the door, she cried, “Papa, I’m back and I have a whole sackcloth full of food!”

“Wonderful!” exclaimed Bartimaeus. “Tell me all about your journey.”

“Oh Papa, I was so scared, I almost drowned in the river but a kind man named Judas and his wife, Salome, rescued me and took me across the river. I got to Grandpa Timeaus’ and Grandma Sarah’s house before dark and they were very happy to see me. This morning they filled my sackcloth full of food and I started coming home. When I got to Bethany Beyond Jordan I saw a crowd of people and stopped to find out what was happening. A Rabbi was teaching, and I was tired so I stood there to listen. Judas saw me and took me to the Rabbi who put me on his lap and the teacher blessed me with his hand over my eyes. When he took his hand away, I could see his face and everything else much better than I have ever seen before! Oh Papa, maybe he will touch your face tomorrow and help you too. They will be going to Jerusalem, so they will walk right by where you always sit. We can be waiting for him.”

The next morning Bartimaeus and Leah were the first people to get to the western gate. As people started coming by, Bartimaeus would call out as always, “Alms, alms for the blind!” No one stopped. After about two hours, Leah was panicky! What if they went out a different gate? What if they left earlier and were already way up the road?

More time went by - and then she saw a group of people coming up the street. – Yes, they were the same group! She saw Judas and then Jesus! “Papa, she said, they are here! Call him! Ask Jesus to help you!”

Bartimaeus was silent.

“Papa,” Leah said, “What’s wrong? Jesus is walking by. Call him!”

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me,” Bartimaeus said quietly.

“Louder, papa,” said Leah, starting to cry.

Hearing her sob, Bartimaeus shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” then again, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

People started telling him to shut up and be quiet, but now he got even louder! “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Someone came to him and said, “Cheer up, blind man! Come! He is calling you.” Bartimaeus jumped up, throwing off his robe and started following their voices toward Jesus. Then hands were on his arms leading him forward, and finally stopping him.

Quickly everyone stopped talking and it got silent as if they were waiting to hear from a king. Bartimaeus heard a voice from just in front of him and close, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Rabbi, I want to see.” Bartimaeus answered.

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”

Instantly, just as Leah said, he saw Jesus’ face clearly. He was gazing straight into Bartimaeus’ eyes. Jesus smiled. Then Bartimaeus heard Leah’s voice beside him, turned, and for the first time ever, saw his sweet little girl’s face with a big smile, and arms reaching up for him.

Family Discussion Questions
Have Mercy!

This story is fictional, based on the true account of the events recorded in Mark 10:46-52

Q. What words did you hear in the story that you didn’t know?

A. Give your children the meaning of each word they remember but can’t define.

Q. Who do you know anyone who is challenged with poor vision, blindness, or other physical challenges?

A. Accept your children’s answers, and if possible discuss how the challenges make life difficult for the children or adults they describe.

Q. What do you feel when “homeless” people ask you for money?

A. Accept your children’s answers, and if possible discuss how the challenges of poverty and/or homelessness make life difficult for the children or adults they describe.

Q. Can you think of a time that your dad or mom asked you to do something that made you scared? If so, tell us about it.

A. Accept your children’s answers, and if possible discuss how they handled the challenge of fear. Then discuss together how you as a family might serve someone in your neighborhood or church that has physical challenges.

Q. The incident in which Leah met Jesus comes from Mark 10:13-16. Maybe your children have memorized some of these verses. Please read the verses, then again read verse 16. Notice that Jesus took the children into his arms and put his hands on them to bless them.
Touch is a baby’s first language. Ask your children what kinds of touch make them feel better.

A. Gentle touch from someone they know and love is affirming and healing. Touch from a stranger can be scary, so give your children permission to pull away.

Q. Please ask your child or children how they got to know Jesus, and how they feel about their relationship with him.

A. The reality of a personal relationship with Jesus is so much more important than just knowing about him or having correct answers to questions about religion or theology. See if your children can describe their relationship with Jesus or if they confuse relationship with belonging to your church or family. If their answers are unclear, discuss with each other as parents what you might want to ask your pastor or us about.

This Article Makes Me Feel...

Number of Votes: 0

Copyright © 2015 by Dr. Rex Johnson
All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used with author’s permission.

Reprint Article? or Back list page