As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi,who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. John 9:1-7
I am a fan of soap. As I listen to those around me cough and snort, I become an even greater fan of a thorough hand washing with loads of soap. Soap’s properties make it a great cleaner. It’s a disinfectant for a wound. Nothing like a little soap and water to get some of the gunk out. It makes garments clean. It removes the stinky odour of old gym socks and instead replaces it with a fresh and inviting smell. Soap is great stuff.
The man had been born blind. He had learned to move around in a dark world. Learned how to make his way without the benefit of seeing where he was going. Instead he had learned to be supported by others, to be led here and there. Begging was most likely his occupation.
Jesus disciples attributed the malady of blindness to have arrived because of sin. Something horrible must have been done by the parents or else why would the man be blind. Jesus turns the issue of the man’s blindness on its head. Instead, Jesus states that the blindness is an opportunity for God to work in the man’s life. I wonder about the “deficiencies” in my life. In those moments of weakness, those times when I feel less than, I have the opportunity to be blessed by the working of God in my life. Do I open myself up for those possibilities or do I close myself off thinking I might just fix it myself?
Jesus remedy for blindness is not what I would have anticipated. A mud solution was placed on the man’s eyes. He was sent to a pool. He was told to wash. His sight was restored. There was faith demonstrated. If my eyes would have been caked with mud, I don’t know that I would have been super receptive. If I had seen how the mud was made, I would have certainly been even less excited about the possibility of that paste being applied to my face! But rather than cringing with disgust, the man accepted the treatment and then was obedient. He knew where the pool was. He did exactly as he was told. His sight was given to him.
Light, shadows, people, faces of those he loved, his community, buildings, fences, all that was once familiar with the touch of a fingertip or a sensation on the skin he could now see. He must have experienced profound delight.
Jesus reminded those who saw the miracle, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Do I pay attention to what the Light of the World is doing around me? Do I see evidence of His light in others? Do I crave to be in the light? Or do I need to go and have a good wash? A wash that removes the gunk that has built up around my heart. That removes the corrosion of soul and spirit that has occurred.
This Advent season, I am in need of a good inspection. The accumulated trash needs to be removed with the Holy Spirit’s help. A thorough soap and water washing of the Holy Spirit has healing properties for my heart and mind. It will be much easier to then see the Light.