The Country of the Blind

Woman eye In response to yesterday's sermon at NCCC on John 9, I've had a number of requests to email people H.G. Wells short story, "The Country of the Blind". The story can be found in Wells' short story collection, The Country of the Blind and other Short Stories. It's a terrific little story. I can't reprint it here fully without getting permission, so I've put the shorter version below. I'm also indebted to Lee Eclov who first drew my attention to the story and it's application through Preaching Today. You may also go to nccofc.org and listen to the sermon as well to hear it's application.

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English
author H. G. Wells, famous for science fiction novels like The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds, once wrote a
short story called "The Country of the Blind." It's about an
inaccessible, luxurious valley in Ecuador where, due to a strange disease,
everyone is blind. After 15 generations of this blindness there was no
recollection of sight or color or the outside world at all. Finally a man from
the outside—a man who could see—literally fell into their midst. He had fallen
off a high cliff and survived, only to stumble into their forgotten country.

When he
realized that everyone else was blind, he remembered the old adage: "In
the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."
Wells writes:

He tried at
first on several occasions to tell them of sight. "Look you here, you
people," he said. "There are things you do not understand in
me." Once or twice one or two of them attended to him; they sat with faces
downcast and ears turned intelligently towards him, and he did his best to tell
them what it was to see.

But they
never believed him. They thought he was crazy. The man fell in love with a girl
there and the girl's father, Yacob, went to talk to a doctor about him. A
conversation ensued:

[The doctor
said]: "I think I may say with reasonable certainty that, in order to cure
him complete, all that we need to do is a simple and easy surgical
operation—namely, to remove these irritant bodies [his eyes!]."

"And
then he will be sane?" [they asked].

"Then
he will be perfectly sane, and a quite admirable citizen."

"Thank
Heaven for science!" said old Yacob.

Wells goes
on to point out that the man would not be allowed to marry Yacob's daughter
unless he submitted to an operation that would blind him. So what would the man
do? Wells writes:

"He had fully
meant to go to a lonely place where the meadows were beautiful with white
narcissus, and there remain until the hour of his sacrifice should come, but as
he walked he lifted up his eyes and saw the morning, the morning like an angel
in golden armour, marching down the steeps…

It seemed to
him that before this splendour, he and this blind world in the valley, and his
love and all, were no more than a pit of sin. And the man who could see escaped
the country of the blind with his life."

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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