a woman with her eyes closed with her chin tilted toward the sky

I Was Blind, But Now I See

I love the passage in John 9:1-41 where Jesus heals a man blind from birth.

The very first verse of chapter 9 melts me: “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.

So many people passing by on their way into the temple ignored, avoided, and walked around him, but Jesus saw him, and was moved with compassion by his circumstance.

In Greek, the phrase “passed by” is “parago.” John chapter 8 ends with Jesus “parago” those who want to stone Him.

Chapter 9 opens with Him passing by the man born blind. He has passed by two different types of blindness – physical and spiritual.

I try to imagine what the man was thinking; surely, he was tired of begging?

He had been there a long time. Not a shekel, not even a mite had landed at his feet. Last month, he had been given a denarius, but today, nothing.

He wondered if any of the people passing by ever noticed him. They were on their way into the temple, to pray and to offer sacrifices, not to help beggars who sat at the temple doorstep.

What’s that? He’s alert as he hears men talking near him.

Strange, but it sounds like they are asking questions about him, about who sinned; did he sin or his parents?

At that time, the thinking was that suffering was due to sin; therefore, any disaster or catastrophe which befell a person must have been caused by their own sinful actions.

It was believed possible that a person could sin in the womb, before birth.

He listens closely as he is sure now they are discussing him. It’s difficult, with the noise of the crowds, but he hears the one man say he had not sinned!

What a relief!

What happiness to know that someone believed this was not his own doing. But now what?

He hears someone spit. One of them is spitting at him? It’s happened before,

He thinks the spittle misses him, as he felt nothing. He hears the name, “Rabbi,” but what – now he feels someone touching his eyes. With.. is it mud? And he’s saying to go to the Pool of Siloam and wash.


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The Pool of Siloam

Built by King Hezekiah, the Pool of Siloam allowed water to come from the Gihon Spring, which was located outside of the city wall through a conduit which passed under the wall and flowed into the Pool of Siloam.

This allowed the people to have water even during times when they were under siege from the Assyrians.

The word “Siloam” means “sent.” Jesus is referred to as the “Sent One,” and, being sent from God.

In the passage from John 9, we see the blind man being sent by the Sent One to the pool called Sent.

Just as Jesus sent the blind man to the Pool of Siloam to be healed, He sends believers out into the world to proclaim His love, mercy, and grace to those who need His healing power in their lives, both physically and spiritually. We, too, are being sent.

John 8:42 NIV tells us Jesus was sent by the Father: “Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.”

In John 20:21 NIV, again Jesus states He has been sent by the Father: “Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

How This Story is Also Our Story

The story of the blind man is really our story, too. We’re outside of the temple, beggarly in our understanding of God, blind to His love and mercy towards us.

Jesus sees us, reaches out to us, and saves us. He begins a word of creation within our hearts, washing us and cleansing us from all unrighteousness, forming us into new creations who can be used for His glorious purposes.

Jesus opens the eyes of our understanding to behold His glory and to know Him.

Mud and Clay

Mud wouldn’t have been very pleasant to feel in a person’s eyes, but it certainly would have motivated the man to get up and go to the Pool of Siloam to wash.

Have you ever thought that God may use things which irritates us to get us to move towards His purpose?

The mud likewise may have been offensive or distasteful to some people, just as the gospel today offends and is distasteful to some. It offends man’s pride and human wisdom.

Lessons From the Blind Man

Jesus comes to us, just as He did to that man so long ago:

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

Revelation 3:20 NIV

The blind man heard Jesus.

“So he went and washed, and came back seeing.” (John 9:7)

The blind man obeyed Jesus.

“Then he said, ‘Lord, I believe!'” (John 9:38)

The blind man believed Jesus.

“And he worshiped Him.” (John 9:38)

The blind man worshiped Jesus.

May God help us to hear, obey, believe, and worship Him, so that we may say with the blind man, “…One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:25 NIV)

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