Chaim lay in a hovel of sticks by the wall near the square. It was just around the corner so that the children would not abuse him. He had once been a shepherd in the hills outside the city. One day while retrieving a stray he had slipped and fallen hard onto a rock. Lying there watching the scudding clouds on a blue canvas of sky he had been overwhelmed with anxiety.
They had found him there and taken him to a physician who could not help him. Knowing nothing else to do they had taken him outside the city wall, given him some bread and a skin of water and left him there.
Eventually he had pulled his useless legs along until arriving here at the busy square where he could beg. There was less wind and dust and he had found this hovel. They told him that another crippled beggar had been found dead there. The body had been buried outside the city.
Today there was a fever in the air. A rabbi was coming. He claimed to be the Son of God. It was told that he had performed miracles of healing throughout the land. Was this truly the Messiah? Chaim could only query, “What God would have brought so low?” What could the son of such a God do for him?
He lay there as the rain reached her cold fingers inside his rags. It ran down his sides until it reached the places where he could feel it no more. He wept into the rain for he was lost and could not find his way. Then in a flash of lightning, shadows exposed, he knew what he must do.
Since there had been reports of miracles, he would crawl to the rabbi and ask him to restore his legs so that he might walk again. Dawn broke and the crowds gathered murmuring among themselves. The rabbi came. Chaim pulled himself along through the mud and stone. His neck ached from looking up at the legs and robes, struggling to find his way to the center.
Some moved to allow his tedious passage, others trod upon his fingers and kicked his ribs but he persevered until he saw Him. He gazed upon this man who claimed to be the Son of God and once again he began to weep. No longer did he weep in self-pity though. He wept for joy because he could see the face of truth.
He had come to be given his legs. Instead he had found his soul in the eyes of the Savior and he did not need to walk anymore. As the Messiah passed Chaim reached out to touch him craning his neck, extending his body until he could feel the coarse cloth of the rabbi’s simple robe.
As the crowd surged a sharp pain flashed from his ankle where someone trod. He jumped to his feet to avoid being trampled. That’s when he heard the gasps as others began to murmur, then shout …
“The cripple walks. It is a miracle.”
Then he knew. He had wanted to stand like the man he had once been yet at the sight of the Savior, he had surrendered to his plight. In that moment he had been lifted by faith to stand new before God. Hearing their shouts the rabbi glanced back. Chaim looked into His eyes and wept no more.