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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Today’s Reading | John 9:1–15

As he walked 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?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” (NRSV)


This story from John’s gospel leaves me with so many questions. How can we explain how Jesus healed the man, born blind? How could Jesus describe the man’s blindness as a means for revealing God’s works? What is the significance of the name of the pool of Siloam?

I have to remind myself not to get overly caught up in the examination of details. In the end this story matters because a man was given his sight when it seemed he was beyond help. The divine Jesus spits on the ground, reaches down into the dirt to make mud, and spreads the mud on the blind man’s eyes. It is an earthy, dirty, intimate act. Without the mess of Jesus’ saving action, the questions about all the details wouldn’t burn so deeply in my heart, would they?

Martin Buber taught us that if we truly meet another person as we ought, the other person “fills the firmament. Not as if there were nothing but he; but everything else lives in his light.” This Lenten fast is not about achieving the proper mental understanding of Jesus. Lent is about having a genuine, messy encounter with the Jesus Christ who makes a blind man see—meeting him and wrestling with him in the dirt and the spit of the world and setting aside, for the moment at least, all the other questions and simply living in the light of Christ.


Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
Be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought in the day and the night,
Both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light. Amen.
(from the ancient Irish poem “Be Thou My Vision”)

Reflection written by Hardy H. Kim, Associate Pastor for Evangelism

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