Learning about the body in a Bible study

By Donnelle Storrs, Wesley Nurse

As a faith community nurse, I strive to provide compassionate care and consider the spiritual needs of patients while addressing their physical health. I attend Bible studies to meditate on the scriptures, and listen and learn about the Lord without really thinking about the physical body. How amazing is it then to go to a Bible study and have the Lord open my eyes to things I had not seen before?

John 9 tells, in my mind, a beautiful story to read. In summary, Jesus and his disciples happen upon a man blind from birth – for ease of reading, we'll call the blind man Bubba. After a short discussion, Jesus spits into the dirt to create mud. He places the mud over Bubba's eyes and instructs him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. Bubba follows Jesus' instructions and is healed.

Bubba tells his experience to the Pharisees who are incredulous. They ask for Bubba's parents to give testimony, not believing that he was truly blind before meeting Jesus. The parents confirm his identity and that he had been born blind, however, they deny any knowledge of Bubba being healed. The parents remind the Pharisees that Bubba is of age to answer the questions so the Pharisees ask again how he was healed. At this point, Bubba has questions of his own. "I already told you, and you didn't listen. Why do you want to hear it again?" (CEB Jn 9:27a) Bubba is then expelled from the group.

Jesus returns, and as he reveals himself to be the son of God, Bubba believes and worships him. "Jesus said, 'I have come into the world to exercise judgment so that those who don't see can see and those who see will become blind.'" (CEB Jn 9:39)

The chapter before Bubba's story, in the Temple, "Jesus spoke to the people again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me won't walk in darkness but will have the light of life.'" (CEB Jn 8:12)

When preparing a health education program on eyes and vision, I was captivated by a simple truth: in order to see, there must be light. Of course, it makes perfect sense—we are unable to see in pitch black darkness. There must be light in order for our eyes to be able to work. But take a moment to reflect on John 8:12 along with what is physically required for vision—Jesus is the light of the world; there must be light in order to see. I paused. It seemed so simple. We may live in these physical bodies, but do we truly see if we have not encountered Jesus?

There is a saying from Matthew 6:22 (CEB) that says, "The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light." Did you know that an eye exam could tell you how you're doing with your blood pressure? This same exam can tell you if your diabetes is under control? It's true. The eye is the only place where a doctor can view a vein, artery and nerve without any incision. The eyes are great indicators of health, which is why regular eye exams (yearly) are so important. It's not just your eyes being checked, but also how your heart is working and your blood is flowing.

I had studied eyes and vision in nursing school and read articles since then on the topic. I had seen these verses from John 8 and 9; I had just never really thought of them together. We are beautifully and wonderfully made. In seeing these concepts together, I realized that the Lord could teach me about my body in a Bible study as well as in a nursing class.

Stay tuned! I hope to share with you more about how health and Bible classes work cohesively.

Donnelle Storrs, RN is a Wesley Nurse at Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. Methodist Healthcare Ministries' Wesley Nurse program is a faith-based, holistic health and wellness program committed to serving the least-served through education, health promotion and collaboration with individuals and communities to achieve improved wellness through self-empowerment. Learn more at www.mhm.org/programs/health-ministries