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I was sharing lunch one day with my not yet daughter-in-law, who is originally from Peru. During the course of the meal, I asked her to tell me about some of the things that she and her sisters did in Peru when they were growing up. She informed me that they used to make soap. Then she began to describe the various ingredients that they would include: carrots, peas, pasta ……..What?! You put pasta and vegetables in soap? She looked at me like I had two heads. Then I realized, there was a slight misunderstanding. She used the word sopa, not soap, which in Spanish means soup!
Everyone knows how painful it is to get soap, not sopa, in your eyes when you wash your hair. It burns badly and causes momentary blindness. You immediately try to flush it out with clean water to remove the chemical that is causing the pain. Some people claim that certain shampoos can cause permanent blindness, but I don’t think that’s true. Either way, it hurts when soap gets in the eyes……..
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
I am perplexed by the various methods Jesus used to heal. One has to wonder why for certain individuals that Jesus added extra steps for the healing to occur. We know he had the power to heal immediately, if he so chose, because he did it routinely. But in this story, Jesus spit in the dirt, made some mud, put it on the blind man’s eyes, then instructed the blind man to wash in the Pool of Siloam. Why?
There are several unique qualities about this miracle healing:
- The man was blind from birth
- Jesus said that he was born that way so that “the works of God could be displayed”
- We are all born “spiritually blind,” not the result of individual sin
- The blind man didn’t ask to be healed, Jesus made the initiative
- In all of scripture, no one but Jesus ever healed a blind person; it was a mark of the Messiah – Psalm 146:8, Isaiah 35:5, Matt 11:5
- Jesus sent the blind man to wash in the Pool of Siloam
- Siloam means sent – it is the same word in the Hebrew and the English transliteration as the word apostle, or missionary.
- Jesus specifically mentions that he was sent by God
- The mud made from dust and spit, a throwback to the creation of Adam
- Only God has the power to create, Jesus is God
- The man was not healed until he obeyed Jesus and washed in the pool
- To be given “new sight” required an act of faith, belief
- Not so surprising, Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath
- The man was so dramatically changed by the healing that he wasn’t easily recognized by the people who had known him his whole life
- Jesus used the man’s physical healing as a way to bring about his spiritual healing (please read the entire chapter of John 9)
When God washes us, he removes the impurities that have prevented us from seeing clearly. We are no longer blinded by our sin or blinded from the truth. We begin to see life from a completely different perspective. Suddenly, things that we learned in Sunday School begin to make sense. Words jump off the pages of scripture and grab us by the throat. Prayer takes on a whole new dimension. All of life has new meaning, and it is completely unexplainable.
That is the miracle of new life that the Messiah, he who was sent by his Father, brings to us in the person of Jesus. He was sent to give sight to the blind, not just to the physically blind, but to the spiritually blind.
I lift the mug today to those struggling for vision. May God remove from your eyes whatever is preventing them from seeing clearly.
All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com