Do you suffer from E.E.S?
E.E.S. is a serious condition. Doctors do not yet know about it, (and there is a chance that I made it up) But it is still a serious condition. In fact, everyone suffers from E.E.S. to some degree. Do not be fooled, it is dangerous; and if you show any of the symptoms described below, seek help at once.
E.E.S (also known as Earthly Eye Syndrome) is something that is obvious to see in the gospel of John. Nicodemus in John chapter 3 had a serious case. The Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well of Jacob also suffered from the malady. And if you think that just because you have spent some time with Jesus that you are clear from the threat of the Syndrome, think again. The disciples in John 4 seemed to have some of the worst cases of E.E.S. yet recorded in the book!
In all three of the cases above we see a preoccupation with the physical world. In all three we see complete confusion in response to the words of Jesus--which makes this condition very dangerous. Let’s look briefly into each case below.
Nicodemus was a religious man and a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and affirmed that Jesus was from God. Obviously the guy was seeking something, maybe even some advice on how to improve himself from a fellow teacher. Jesus, however, cuts straight to the heart of the issue. "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again" (John 3:3). Nicodemus’ response is a symptom of the disease within: “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?”
Jesus’ words did not compute for Nicodemus. Jesus was talking about something entirely different than physical birth and far more drastic: a spiritual birth. What? Nicodemus replied as many of us would have in his shoes, “How can these things be?”
The second case of E.E.S. is the woman at the well. Unlike Nicodemus who was a morally upright, clean, and sophisticated Jewish leader; the woman at the well was a Samaritan woman—and an immoral one at that. But E.E.S. does not discriminate between classes, religions, or genders. Jesus asked the woman for a drink of water (a scandalous breaking of a cultural rule), and proceeds to tell her that if she really knew who he was--she would be asking him, and he would have given her “living water.” It is here that we see the earthly disorder in action as the woman responds: “Give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
All the woman cared for was physical water to satisfy her temporary thirst. She was completely unable to see the thirst that Jesus was looking to fill was something far deeper. It was spiritual. That restlessness that every human to some degree understands. The woman was unable to see her deepest need, and it took Jesus bringing up her immoral past for her to identify the kind of thirst that he was looking to satisfy.
Last but not least we see E.E.S. manifested in the disciples. The disciples return from shopping (after Jesus’ conversation with the woman) and they were preoccupied with something most guys are preoccupied with when they are not thinking about sports--food. They urged Jesus to “eat something,” to which Jesus obscurely states that he has “food that you do not know about.” The disciples’ case of E.E.S. ran so deep that they even interpreted this statement to mean that Jesus had snuck some food while they were gone!
Jesus then tells them in John 4:35, “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” While the disciples were thinking only of their stomachs, Jesus was talking about “the crop for eternal life.” Look at the harvest of souls! Look at all of these lost Samaritans coming to see if I am the Messiah! The disciples however were not thinking in such terms. Such is the way of the earthly eye. They needed a cure.
What about you? Do you also struggle with earthly eye syndrome? Is everything that you see focused on the here and now; the things of this world that are passing away? The times that we live in do not help us, but this has always been the case with the fallen heart. To overcome our earthy-mindedness we need a cure. We need spiritual eyes to see the things that are eternal, the things that ultimately matter.
May we ask the Lord to reveal to us the immensity of our sin and our utter need for rebirth. May we seek with His help to satisfy our deepest longings in Him alone. And may He cure the blindness we all suffer to the “ripe harvest” of souls all around us.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” -- Ephesians 1:18