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9. Healing of Man Born Blind

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 6When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

8The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? 9Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. 10Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? 11He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. 12Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.

13They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. 14And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. 15Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. 16Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. 17They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. 18But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. 19And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? 20His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: 21But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. 22These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. 23Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. 24Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. 25He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. 26Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? 27He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? 28Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. 29We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. 30The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. 31Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 32Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. 34They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. 35Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

39And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

7. Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. Unquestionably, there was not, either in the clay, or in the water of Siloam, any power or fitness for curing the eyes; but Christ freely made use of those outward symbols, on various occasions, for adorning his miracles, either to accustom believers to the use of signs, or to show that all things were at his disposal, or to testify that every one of the creatures has as much power as he chooses to give them. But some inquire what is meant by the clay composed of dust and spittle, and they explain it to have been a figure of Christ, because the dust denotes the earthly nature of the flesh, and the spittle, which came from his mouth, denotes the Divine essence of the Word. For my part, I lay aside this allegory as being more ingenious than solid, and am satisfied with this simple view, that as man was at first made of clay, so in restoring the eyes Christ made use of clay, showing that he had the same power over a part of the body which the Father had displayed in forming the whole man. Or, perhaps, he intended to declare, by this sign, that it was not more difficult for him to remove the obstruction, and to open the eyes of the blind man, than to wash away clay from any man whatever; and, on the other hand, that it was as much in his power to restore sight to the man as it was to anoint his eyes with clay I prefer the latter interpretation.

As to the pool of Siloam, he perhaps ordered the blind man to wash in it, in order to reprove the Jews for not being able to discern the power of God when present; as Isaiah reproaches the men of his time, that they

despise the waters of Siloam, which flow softly,
(Isaiah 8:6,)

and prefer rapid and impetuous streams. This was also the reason, I think, why Elisha ordered Naaman the Syrian to go and wash in Jordan, (2 Kings 5:10.) This pool, if we may believe Jerome, was formed by waters which flowed at certain hours from Mount Zion.

Which, if you interpret it, means Sent. The Evangelist purposely adds the interpretation of the word Siloam; because that fountain, which was near the temple, daily reminded the Jews of Christ who was to come, but whom they despised when he was exhibited before them. The Evangelist, therefore, magnifies the grace of Christ, because he alone enlightens our darkness, and restores sight to the blind. For the condition of our nature is delineated in the person of one man, that we are all destitute of light and understanding from the womb, and that we ought to seek the cure of this evil from Christ alone.

Let it be observed that, though Christ was present then, yet he did not wish to neglect signs; and that for the sake of reproving the stupidity of the nation, which laid aside the substance, and retained only an empty shadow of signs. Besides, the astonishing goodness of God is displayed in this respect, that he comes of his own accord to cure the blind man, and does not wait for his prayers to bestow help. And, indeed, since we are by nature averse to him, if he do not meet us before we call on him, and anticipate by his mercy us who are plunged in the forgetfulness of light and life, we are ruined.


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