by Ricky Chelette, Executive Director
In our world of antibacterial soaps, germ aversion, and highly advanced medical treatments, we generally don’t associate mud and spit as treatments for congenital birth defects. That is, unless you are Jesus.
Not recorded in any of the other gospels, John 9 is a unique account of Jesus performing a miracle. Though the entire chapter is rich in Kingdom significance, His use of mud and spit in verses 6-7 reveals something important about the way Jesus works:
He spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (Which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. (Jn 9:6-7)
Why did Jesus spit on the ground and make a mud pie to heal the man? Is there mud in the middle east that brings sight to the blind? Why did the man have to walk through town and wash in the pool of Siloam? Are there minerals in that pool that bring sight to the blind? Why didn’t Jesus just speak a word and restore the man’s sight? Why command a process before the healing happened?
As you look at the miracles of Jesus, what you discover is Jesus often asks people to participate in some way in the miracle only He can do. It is not that their performance makes miracles happen; in fact, that is far from the truth. However, I believe that Jesus knows there is much for us to learn in the process of our healing. By participating in the process of our healing, we learn to trust the voice of our Savior, discovering the depth of our brokenness and the power of God.
The blind man only knew himself as the label people placed upon him – a blind beggar. Sometimes we too hold on to what it is we have always been, not realizing all that God has called us to be. We also sometimes believe that because “this is the way it has always been,” this is the way it will always be. The beauty of the gospel is there is hope for transformation. Change happens. We can become new creations in Christ if we are willing to embrace the words of our Savior and obey them.
The man’s healing was instantaneous in one sense—he washed and then saw (v. 9)—but an even more significant change took place in the man’s heart as he embraced the process of Jesus’ revelation of Himself to the man through the man’s obedience.
In order for the blind man to experience healing, he had to let go of his former identity as a blind man and embrace his transformed reality – a healed disciple. He could not continue to hold on to old ways of living and believing because now he had sight. He was no longer walking in darkness but had seen the Light, and it forever changed him.
If we want to walk in freedom, we must let go of ties to the past and embrace our new identity in Christ. We can’t hold on to old ways, old beliefs, or old labels that others placed upon us.
The man born in darkness becomes the herald of the Light to those still trapped in darkness. What an incredible irony that a blind man—thought to be blind because of his sin or that of his parents—schooled religious leaders who believed they were righteous but weren’t. The gospel indeed uses, in the words of Paul, the “weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor 1:27).
Are you willing to go through whatever process God has in store for you in order to fully embrace the transformation of God’s healing in your life? Are you willing to let go of your “plan B” and fully trust in God’s transforming power? Once transformed, are you willing to declare the light, so others may “see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven”? We are all blind in some way. May His light penetrate our darkness and allow us to see our new identity in Him, reflecting His light to a world in darkness.