“Eyes that look are common; eyes that see are rare,” wrote J. Oswald Sanders in his book Spiritual Leadership.
Sanders’ words speak to the ability to see below the surface. To look beyond the obvious. To view with insight and understanding. To really see things in this manner requires perception. Recognition. And discernment.
The apostle John records the extraordinary insight of Jesus in chapter 4 in his exchange with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus stopped to rest while the disciples went into the city for food. His request for a drink of water shocked the woman who knew that “the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans.”
Jesus, however, looked beyond her racial background and engaged her in a conversation that moved from physical water to a discussion of spiritual matters. Amazed and excited at Jesus’ insight she seriously wondered, “Could this be the Christ?”
As she went into the city to share this good news, the disciples returned and “marveled that he talked with a woman.” This was unlawful and inappropriate according Rabbinic customs. But Jesus saw something and someone more valuable than their spiritually crippling traditions. He saw a hungry soul, weary of sin, and yearning for a better life.
When the disciples urged Jesus to eat the food they brought, he responded, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
“Could someone have brought him food?” they wonder.
In turn Jesus sought to open their eyes to a greater need, an incredible opportunity, and vision of the future Kingdom.
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
The following paragraph records that the woman brought the Samaritans to see Jesus. “And many more believed because of His own word.”
What an amazing account. A Samaritan woman with an immoral past becomes a Believer and brings many people to Jesus.
The disciples couldn’t see it. Nor could they have known that the gospel message would be preached in Samaria following Pentecost and that many men and women would receive it with joy and obedience, including a Sorcerer (Ax 8).
“Open your eyes,” Jesus says to each of us. Open your eyes to opportunities to do good. To help others. And to share the word.
“Open your eyes” to those of a different racial and ethnic background. Prejudice will blind your eyes. The love of Jesus will open them.
“Open your eyes” to your friends, neighbors, and relatives. Maybe familiarity has closed your eyes to their needs. And to opportunities to minister to them.
“Open your eyes” to your co-workers, customers, and colleagues. Maybe interactions about material matters can lead to conversations regarding spiritual concerns.
“Open your eyes’ to the hurting. The helpless. “To the least of these.” See a starving soul beyond their physical plight.
“Open your eyes” to little things that mean a lot. A kind word. A smile. A hug. A pat on the pack. A text message. And even a “cup of cold water” in Jesus’ name.
“Open your eyes” to young people who are struggling to find their way. Who need a mentor. And have questions that need answers.
“Open your eyes” to senior citizens who are lonely and would appreciate a visit. A phone call. Or a card.
“Open your eyes” to use your unique gift to minister to others in need.
“Open your eyes” to slow down, and give of yourself and your time to someone who can be lifted by just a few minutes.
“Open your eyes” to use your monetary treasure to bless someone in need, less fortunate, or to fund a worthy cause.
“Open my eyes, O Lord, that I may do more than look, but really see.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman