There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John … He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light.
To read today’s portion of scripture, you can purchase The One Year Bible or find the following in your Bible:
The Miracle Worker, starring Patty Duke, remains one of the most powerful movies I’ve ever seen. It’s the story of Helen Keller, who had been blind, deaf and mute since her infancy, and Anne Sullivan, the half-blind teacher Helen’s parents bring in as her last hope before being institutionalized. Helen is often angry, sometimes violent, and completely out of anyone’s control. But Anne is equally stubborn. She tackles Helen’s behavior first, and then begins teaching her to sign. But Helen makes no connection between those signed words and the objects they identify, until one afternoon when Anne, admittedly at the end of her patience, signs the word “water” over and over while holding Helen’s hand under the pump. I still remember the awe I felt at watching Anne sign that word again and again until finally, Helen’s understanding opened wide, and light dawned on her dark world. Anne’s persistence finally breached Helen’s sunless existence, and with a few deft touches, Helen’s life was changed forever. She went from little more than an untamed animal to a girl hungry for knowledge, who grew up to be both an author and an activist.
John’s calling was similar to Anne’s. He lived among those who were closed off to God’s righteousness, and he had been called from the womb to prepare them for Jesus. He wasn’t the bringer of Salvation; he was the bringer of the Light. He breached the darkness of his time and cleared the way so that when Jesus arrived, hearts were ready to receive Him.
And our calling is the same. We live among those blind to God’s deaf and deaf to His voice, and we bear His life-changing light within us. Where we find darkness, we’re to shine His light and beckon hearts out of the shadows. Not everyone will appreciate light coming into their darkness. But the ones who do will be changed forever.
Below are three clips. The first is a montage of scenes from the movie, where you can see the progression of Helen’s life up to the day when she learns to connect words with objects. The second is the scene when she has the realization at the water pump. And the third is a rare clip of the real Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan. I hope you watch; and I hope you find inspiration in Anne Sullivan. We’re to be miracle-workers, too.