Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 9:6-12 (Holman) After He said these things He spit on the ground, made some mud from the saliva, and spread the mud on his eyes.
This is not the first time God had used clay. Just as God made man out of clay, Jesus used clay to create sight. It was an act of creation, of Divinity.
The clay had no power of healing, nor did the water of Siloam. The thing that healed was Christ=s will, but He used these externals to help the beggar believe he was going to be healed.
Spittle was often used as a healing agent. The ancients believed it was an antidote against certain poisons, a protection against epilepsy, and even a help to cure crick in the neck (a part of this ancient heritage still persists today. If we burn a finger our first instinct is to put it into our mouth).
Jesus used the physical materials to accommodate Himself to the weak faith which He seeks to evoke. They were crutches, helps for a weak and sense-bound faith. They were ladders by which the man could ascend to higher faith.
Jesus was a kind healer. The salve was harmless. Straitlaced dogmatics would never be cautious enough to be that kind. We often scoff at peoples aids to faith and then justify our cruelty by calling it orthodoxy.
Jesus was a wise physician. He gained the confidence of His patients. He did not believe in those things, but used them to kindle expectations. The ointment was an aid to human faith, not to Divine power. That is the thing to be remembered.
It is okay to have aids to faith. However, we must never see Divine power in them: baptism, visible church, ordination, the Lords Supper, outward worship services, etc. All these come under the same category. They have no life nor power in themselves, but serve as crutches for our faltering faith. None of these has grace and healing in it. They are only ladders by which we may ascend to Him. We need crutches and ladders, but we must not worship them.
We are highly susceptible to idolatry. Two preachers in our tour group wanted to be baptized in the Jordan River. Everyone got samples of it. Most waded out in it. We were all Protestants, but still delighted in the physical.
Church of the Holy Sepulcher, top of Calvary and rock of resurrection tomb cannot be seen. They are covered with images and icons. Also, Arab soldiers are maintained there to keep the peace between the warring Christian factions within.
Physical aids must never be elevated to a place of importance and power in the Christian life that God never meant them to fill.
However, on the other hand, we should not try to do without them completely.
Paul the Apostle fasted (Acts 9:9), send out from his body aprons and handkerchiefs for healing (Acts 19:12). He even fulfilled Judaistic vows so as not to offend the Jews (Acts 18:18; 21:24). He encouraged men to pray Alifting up holy hands@ (I Timothy 2:8). Jesus fasted and washed feet.
Jesus said anoint the sick with oil (James 5:14). Three clergymen of the same denomination were with us on the tour. They were hard-core Pentecostals. They would not take the Lord=s Supper at the Garden Tomb because we did not wash feet. They bought large quantities of olive oil in Israel thinking it would help the faith of their members.
When I asked them some questions, they said they believe in following the Bible exactly as it is found in the King James version. More power to them.
Jesus used many different means of doing good. He still uses variety. Use aids, as long as you see these only as aids.
John 9:7 AGo,@ He told him, Awash in the pool of Siloam@ (which means ASent@). So he left, washed, and came back seeing.
Jesus was now blatantly breaking Jewish law. This was the Sabbath and no healing was to be done, for God, the Healer, was to be allowed to rest. It should be noted that the legal code of Jesus= day specifically forbade the application of saliva to the eyes on the Sabbath due to its believed medicinal value.
This whole episode displayed Jesus= contempt for the pharisaical traditions of men. Jesus never profaned the Mosaic Sabbath, but trampled under foot its pharisaic perversions.
By doing good on the Sabbath, Jesus was delivering the fourth commandment from the pharisaical grave. Christ was trying to dignify the Sabbath and make it a joyous day again. God intended the Sabbath as a day of laying aside of burdens. He never meant for it to be an intolerable burden of itself.
The Scribes and Pharisees usurped power, and Jesus would not give any credence to them. Their rules were illegal and arbitrary. They majored on minors to the exclusion of majors. Hence, Christ gave no place to them. He obeyed the law of God, but not their law. And the law to be obeyed now was the law of love and compassion.
Jesus did not delay His kindness till the Sabbath was past to avoid controversy. He saw the opportunity to do good and did it quickly. Many good works are left undone because we want to wait until things are more convenient or until there will be no objection. Let=s learn from our Lord.
Let=s also learn from the healed man. To be healed the man could not be passive. He had to wash in the pool of Siloam. AGo, wash in Siloam@ suggests that in spiritual feats God has His work, and we have ours.
Christian experience is first and foremost a willingness to accept the gift of cleansing. Dirtiness must be confessed and then the prescribed order obeyed. Jesus suspends healing on obedience.
AGo and wash@ B immediately he went and washed. The man with the withered hand was commanded, AStretch forth thine hand@ (Matthew 12:13). The paralytic was ordered, ARise, take up thy bed, and walk@ (John 5:8).
Christ=s healing depends upon absolute compliance with the conditions. To be saved, a person must accept Jesus as lord (Master, owner, boss). There must be a willingness to obey Christ explicitly.
This blind man had to obey in everything. Had he washed in any other pool he would have remained blind. The Pool of Siloam was where he had to go to show his total submission to Christ=s word.
The name ASent@ had to do with the fact that this water was sent into the pool by an underground tunnel. The water was sent, Jesus was sent (v. 4), and now the man is sent. He must go to the exact spot.
The sin-sick will be made whole when they go to the exact fountain where Jesus has lodged His healing power. For us the power is lodged in the cross. I don=t understand it all, but that is where we must flee for help.
He said healing is there. I accept it. He is the Potter, we are the clay. The best thing the clay can do to help the Potter is to be pliable. Whatever He says believe it. Go where He sends.
Is it worth your while?
John 9 8-12 His neighbors and those who formerly had seen him as a beggar said, AIsn=t this the man who sat begging?@ Some said, AHe=s the one.@ ANo,@ others were saying, Abut he looks like him.@ He kept saying, AI=m the one!@ Therefore they asked him, AThen how were your eyes opened?@ He answered, AThe man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and told me, >Go to Siloam and wash.= So when I went and washed I received my sight.@ AWhere is He?@ they asked. AI don=t know,@ he said.
His neighbors were so astonished at the cure that some of them refused to believe this actually was the blind beggar. They could not believe it was the same man. Jesus is always doing things for men which seem too good to be true.
That=s how it is with regeneration. When a man is born again, he becomes a new creature. The change is often so drastic that even friends cannot believe it.
As the onlookers gawked and squawked, this man simply used the same line of argument and reasoning. He emphasized the contrast in his life. He persistently declared what he had been and what he was now. AI am he@ (v 9), AI went and washed, and I received sight@ (v 11), AI washed, and do see@ (v 15, AI was blind, now I see@ (v 25).
AWas and is@ were the basis of his testimony. He didn=t understand the mechanics of it all, but he knew something had happened. There was a contrast and he kept emphasizing it.
He remembered what he was. So must we. If a man ever forgets from whence he has come, his testimony loses its effectiveness. Our elevation and position in Christ can be appreciated only when it is contrasted to the degradation out of which we came.
David remembered. AHe brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure@ (Psalm 40:2). A. . . look to the rock from which you were cut, and to the quarry from which you were dug@ (Isaiah 51:1). Never forget. Remember where He brought you from.
We don=t need greater ingenuity to win the lost. The only prerequisites are living, walking, talking, breathing monuments to God=s grace. Produce one convicted man, one genuine turnaround, and Christ will win the battles. Just tell men what Jesus has done for you.
This man was obsessed with his sight. Nothing else mattered. He knew nothing about how the eyes and brain functioned, he didn=t know how the salve cured him B he simply knew he could see.
The greatest part of Christianity is not Bible study or knowledge,. It is rather the contrast that the new birth causes in a person=s heart. We forget that often.
In Scotland an elderly woman applied for membership in a church. Her pastor asked her numerous theological and Biblical questions. She failed the examination and was temporarily disqualified. As she left she said through her tears, AI cannot speak for Him, but I could die for Him.@
When D. L. Moody was saved, he also applied for church membership. The pastor quizzed Moody, who knew almost nothing about the Bible. Moody had, however, heard this story and kept repeating, AWhereas I was blind, now I see.@ D. L. Moody applied to this church three times before he could get in.
A very learned lady once stood before a crowd and tried to prove that Christ was a myth. After her lecture a man stood and said, AMy friends, you know me. I have lived among you for 25 years. Twenty-five years ago I was a drunken brute. I used to beat my wife and make my home a hell on earth.
ANow, this lady says that Jesus of Nazareth is a myth. Now, my friends, 25 years ago, when I was a drunken, wife-beating rascal, Jesus of Nazareth met me and opened my eyes, and I saw that I was a sinner, and He forgave my sins.
AYou know what a change took place in me then, and you know what sort of a man I have been for the last 25 years. Perhaps the lady will be kind enough to explain me.@
The lady said she could not explain it. The reaction of the crowd was so overwhelming that she was forced to give up delivering the other two lectures she had scheduled for that day.
Jesus changes lives. What greater words could be spoken?
What happened at the Pool of Siloam represents the healing that flows from Christ. They who come to the fount weak, return strengthened; doubters find satisfaction; mourners leave rejoicing; tremblers find triumph; the blind go away seeing; the broken go away singing; sinners find forgiveness.