I am standing in a field in rural Somerset in South West England. Overhead, the skies are foreboding, leaden and grey. A colourful sea of tents and caravans stretches into the distance in every direction. At the centre stands a collection of bright white marquees and circus style tents.

It’s a site usually used as an agricultural showground but, every year, at the end of July and the start of August, it undergoes a total transformation. For two weeks, it temporarily becomes ‘home’ to thousands of Christians who come together from churches across the UK, to collectively worship, study the Bible, and find fellowship with one another.

When it rains, as it often does during a typical British summer, it doesn’t take long for the grass to turn to mud, churned up by the tread of thousands of wellie-clad feet, and the raw smell of manure rises up to assault the nasal senses. It’s a defiant reminder of the land’s usual use, and this year is no exception.

As I criss-cross the festival site, rain drops keep dripping off the rim of the hood of my kagoul, on to my cheeks and down my nose. I resist the urge to duck my head down and run. I know, if I do that, I’ll miss people. People who may be important for me to meet.

I realise it’s a wise decision, as I keep bumping into friends and acquaintances from across the years. Some I’m anticipating seeing; others are a complete surprise. But all meld together in an eclectic melting pot, representing many of my life’s rich seasons. Each conversation is more than a catch up. It’s a resurrection of memories, buried deep and being drawn to the surface.


Eventually I reach my destination. It’s a large tent near the edge of the site, pitched amongst a group of campers from a church in Devon. It belongs to my old friends, Iain and Ali.

Hello, is anyone in?” I call out, my voice travelling easily through the transparent plastic door, closed shut to keep out the rain.

Almost instantaneously, I am greeted from deep inside the tent and the zippers around the door come up, as I am ushered inside. The welcome is warm. The kettle is singing. I navigate the pile of wellies and waterproofs on the floor, to take a seat in a camping chair, next to the two ring gas stove where dinner is cooking. I soon find myself cupping a mug of tea, grateful for the warmth after being outside in the rain.

Once we start to eat, it doesn’t take long for the conversation to shift to the events of the the week.

Have you heard about the blind lady from our church?” Iain asks me, before quickly correcting himself, “Or perhaps I should say, the ‘formerly’ blind lady?

No,” I say, shaking my head.

She received healing prayer yesterday,” he continues, “and now she can see!

The story quickly comes pouring out with Iain and Ali interjecting each other as they try to tell me what happened.

The lady in question is in her early fifties and she’s been attending their church for a few years. Let’s call her Kathy*. She joined because she was referred to ‘Christians Against Poverty’ (CAP) for debt counselling, following a tricky patch in her marriage, as a result of which she and her husband had separated. Kathy’s debt counsellor at CAP, let’s call her Laura*, helped her learn how to budget, and gradually Kathy began to pay off what she owed.

Unfortunately, while Kathy’s finances were taking a turn for the better, her eyesight was taking a turn for the worse. She was told she had a deteriorating eye condition, which would leave her blind in both eyes. It was only a matter of months later when that prognosis came to pass.

Laura and Kathy soon became firm friends, and Laura invited Kathy along to a service at her church, the same one that Iain and Ali attend. It didn’t take long before Kathy encountered Jesus there, and became a Christian.

Now camping with their church, on this agricultural showground in Somerset, yesterday, Laura suggested to Kathy that they should go along to a seminar on healing, ‘because you never know when Jesus might show up‘, and Kathy agreed. The speaker was Robby Dawkins, an American pastor from the Vineyard Church Movement, known for his teaching on power evangelism. He shared Biblical principles for healing, and modern day miracle stories about people being healed here and now in the 21st Century. Then he invited anyone in the marquee who might be in need of healing to ask the person next to them to pray with them and for them, in the name of Jesus.

Kathy had a surge of faith that her eyesight could be healed, so she turned to Laura and asked her to pray. Initially Laura was hesitant but the, she too, felt a surge of faith and she agreed. Not really knowing what she was doing, she tried to apply what she’d just been hearing about from Robby Dawkins.

What followed then was nothing short of a miracle,” explains Ali.

We couldn’t believe it when she came back to our camping area yesterday afternoon,” adds Iain. “There she was, looking at us, not recognising us, but clearly seeing us, and asking who we were.

She only knew us by our voices, so she encouraged us to speak,” Ali interjected, “but then she knew instantly who we were, and she was able to start putting faces to names and voices,” She pauses a moment, clearly still in shock. “It was incredible!”

During the seminar, Laura had prayed for Kathy in incremental steps. Initially, Kathy could see light and dark. Then shadows. Then shapes moving. Then with several more steps, leading to increasing clarity. Each time Laura prayed, Kathy opened her eyes to test what was happening. Neither of them could quite believe it, as Kathy literally sensed her vision being restored.

People keep telling her it was the same way that Jesus healed a blind man in the Bible,” Iain comments. “When Jesus touched his eyes, he could see only partially. His vision meant that people looked like trees walking around. So Jesus touched his eyes again, and then he could see everything clearly.”

Iain and Ali gesture to Kathy’s caravan through their transparent plastic tent window. It’s pitched next door. By the base of the caravan steps, I can see a white stick. Only it’s not a white stick as I’d expect to see it. It’s a white stick that’s been broken in two and abandoned – a salutary reminder of a dramatic change in circumstances.

She’s so excited,” Ali explains. “It’s not just that she no longer needs her white stick. She also no longer needs a guide dog. So she’s going to call and cancel her request for one, as soon as she gets home.”

The whole of our church is in shock. We can’t quite believe it,” says Iain. “We’ve never experienced anything like it.


It’s about a month later, when I receive an email from Iain and Ali. Apparently Kathy went to visit her ophthalmologist when she returned home from Somerset.

I can’t understand it,” the ophthalmologist exclaimed, clearly confused and shaking his head. “You’ve got so much scar tissue at the backs of your eyes that you should still be registered blind. But when I’ve just done all the tests on you, your vision is 20/20 perfect.” He pauses for a moment, before asking, “How is that possible?

It seems that this is one of many opportunities that God has lined up for Kathy to share her testimony about His healing power.


Remembering this story has prompted me to re-read Mark 8 verses 22-26, where Jesus heals the blind man at Bethsaida. As I do so, I find myself both challenged and encouraged.

Challenged, because I wonder whether I have enough desperation for those who need healing … Am I like the people who brought the blind man to Jesus and begged Him to touch their friend? Am I like Laura, who took Kathy to the seminar on healing because she knew that Kathy needed a touch from Jesus?

Encouraged, because it makes me realise that healing can sometimes take more than one action, more than one word, more than one prayer … If Jesus had to touch the blind man’s eyes twice before he could see clearly again, and if it took Laura multiple prayers to see Kathy’s eyesight fully restored, how much more when it’s my turn?

May God give me compassion that drives a desperation to bring those who need healing to Jesus. And may God give me courage that drives a perseverance to pray for those who need healing in Jesus’ Name.


*Names changed to preserve confidentiality. 

[Photo by Patrick Brinksma on Unsplash]




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  2. Wonderful inspiring story! As an eye doctor myself, this encourages me to keep praying for my patients! God is amazing!

    • Joanna Watson Reply

      I’m so pleased to hear this, Dilly! I’m sure God hears your prayers for your patients and their eyes.

  3. I love this story. I know ‘Kathy’ and was in the tent when she received her sight. God is so incredible! Thank you for sharing Jo.

    • Joanna Watson Reply

      How amazing to have actually been there when this happened, Janet! What an amazing miracle to have witnessed firsthand!

  4. Thanks for reminding me about this story! It is so encouraging to read about how God is still doing the sort of miracles that the Bible speaks of – healing the sick, making the lame walk and giving sight to the blind. Thanks for sharing.

    • Joanna Watson Reply

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary. I’m so glad to hear of how you’ve made the connection between this particular miracle and the similar miracles recorded in the Bible. God is definitely still the same miracle-working God today as he was then!

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