Prostrate,face down at the foot of the Teacher- who was reported to have the ears of God-he lay,tears streaming down his face. He was the picture of a man at his wit’s end. His words were laced with desperation. He was at the point of giving up.
The words of the Teacher reverberated in his mind: “If only you believe;anything is possible”
He knew that there was only one person who could determine the outcome of this encounter with the much acclaimed miracle worker, himself-Gaius, father of Jason, who was at this moment staring blankly at the last hope he had of a meaningful life- and only one thing was required of him; to believe.
Faith was the only thing he had in short supply; years of searching for a cure for his son’s ailment has exhausted its reserves. Every recommended treatment has drawn a large amount from its well and -with each failure-has squandered it. Now, the well was running dry. He couldn’t afford to raise his hopes only to have it shattered again…and yet he must.
He watched in the agony felt only by a parent experiencing the loss of a child as another fit took hold of his son. It started with a rapid blinking of the eyes and smacking of the lips, then the right hand began to twitch.
The crowd gathered round receded with a mixture of fear,surprise, curiosity and fascination. His son was now on the floor jerking violently, with foam oozing out of his mouth. Next, his tunic became wet, filling the air with the pungent smell of ammonia; then he uttered a piercing scream before finally becoming limp.
Silence hung in the air as the people waited to see what happened next. Moments later, the boy opened his eyes and stood up, fully aware of what had happened- the evidence was unmistakable.
The man watched with a broken heart as his son tried and failed to hold back the tears; and struggling to muster enough courage to hold his head high but not finding it; his head was bowed and his eyes fixed on the ground. Unknown to him, a groan escaped his mouth.
“How long has this being going on?” the Teacher asked
“Since he was a child” the father answered,his eyes looking upwards pleading. “Help me” he cried, fresh tears coursing down his cheeks spurred on by years of frustration, pain and dashed expectations.
And then he did it. He let down the pitcher and drew from the drying well of faith. But all he could come up with was a few drops. That would have to do
“Lord, I believe!” he said, but fast on the heels of those words were waves of doubt. He had believed before-several times in fact- in all the healers he had visited. Each encounter had filled him with high hopes and great expectation based on great words of praise from those who had recommended them, but they had all ended the same way-failure and disappointment.
“if only you believe” the words echoed in his mind “anything is possible”. Anything. That singular word became a chant, till it filled his whole being.
“Lord, I believe!” his voice was louder- and maybe with more assurance, because the doubts were slow in coming; but they were still there. Because he knew that was the best he could muster- and he also knew that it might not be enough to get what he desired- he added ” help me with my doubts, help my unbelief”
That must have been enough for the Teacher, for he immediately turned and faced the boy
“Come out of him” he commanded “and never return”
And that was all it took; a single sentence.
The boy fell down and jerked violently uttering high pitched cries that cut through the air like a knife. He thrashed about for a minute and then went limp, becoming pale like a ghost.
The father’s heart stopped beating, he stood transfixed unable to move a muscle. His son was dead.
“He’s dead” several voices from the crowd whispered. They couldn’t understand it. This was unlike what they had heard and seen from the Teacher. What went wrong? And why was the Teacher not doing anything?
Panic surged through the boy’s father and his breathing came in short painful gasps. No, it couldn’t be. This was not the way it was supposed to turn out. His son was supposed to get well not dead.
“if you believe” the voice returned “anything is possible”. Anything. Again the word became a chant- anything, anything, anything- until his whole body pulsated with it. His son could not be dead. He was convinced he wasn’t dead.
By now the Teacher was standing over the boy, reaching down and lifting him by the hands. A gasp of surprise broke out from the crowd as the boy opened his eyes and stood up.
Fresh tears ran down the father’s eyes as he rushed forward to embrace his son. Everything was going to be normal now.
Then he fell down at the feet of the Teacher and worshipped. And, he realized at that moment that the well that had run dry was now full:
Anything is possible, by Faith.
“Be not afraid, only believe”- Christ