\”As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man\’s eyes with the clay, saying to him, \”Go, wash in the pool of Siloam\” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing…\” John 9: 6-7
This might be one of my favorite stories of the Bible. A man blind from birth was miraculously healed. It was so miraculous that nobody believed it was actually him until his parents vouched for him. Even more amazing was HOW he was healed. Jesus took some spit and mixed it with dirt to make some clay, smeared it in his sockets and created new eyes for this man. Then He sent the man to wash in the waters of Siloam.
Just like in the Old Testament story where Namaan was confused and even insulted by the too-simple instructions to bathe in the river 7 times to be cured of leprosy, we are surprised by the ordinary but moreso because it\’s spit.
Why would God use spit and dirt and why on the Sabbath? Jesus could have chosen any way and any day to heal this blind man but He chose the Sabbath.
While I don\’t know the entire significance, a few things come to mind. This reminds me of Genesis where God created Adam out of dirt and anointed him with life. The bible doesn\’t make it a point to tell us from which material the animals were created but it does tell us He made Adam from a handful of dust and that he breathed life into his nostrils. Dust seems to be a theme lately. On Ash Wednesday we put ashes on our foreheads to remind us that we are dust and to dust we shall return. Breathe and water are a theme for life or the Holy Spirit. Maybe when God adds His breath or His spit to dirt He\’s adding life.
When I was on a field trip to Lost River Caverns with my child\’s class once, I remember the tour guide pointing out several minerals underground. I recognized them and the thought occurred to me that the same minerals that make up the dirt also make up our bodies. Iron is in our blood, calcium makes up our bones. We are a complicated system that is partially fueled by zinc, magnesium, iodine, copper, cobalt, and so much more. In essence, we are dirt and water; nothing more than a sophisticated colony of particles from the ground held together by God\’s spit.
But Jesus did not come to die for a bunch of dirt. We know that God looked at His creation and called it \”very good\” right before He declared the Sabbath for Himself.
When Christ chose to use dirt to give life to this man\’s eyes He was perhaps reminding us where we came from and Who gives us eternal life. The man was was cured of blindness, yes, but He was given so much more than vision.
Maybe Jesus chose the Sabbath to reestablish the correct order of things. Man was not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath for man. Christ was reminding us that His mission and the most important work of creation was to restore man out of the ashes to life and so He healed the man. As Lord of the Sabbath, the One Who brings dirt to life, He is the One who declared this order in the first place.