IT was a Sabbath day soon after the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, when the Lord was passing by with the disciples. A man born blind was begging by the road-side, perhaps near the temple gate. How sad it must be not to see your way, or to see the beautiful trees and flowers, and clouds and sunshine, and the faces of your friends! And suppose you never had seen these things, and could not even have them to remember. How the Lord must have pitied the poor man; but the disciples and the others seemed to forget to pity him. They asked only whether it was by his fault or his parents’ fault that he was born blind. The Lord answered that it was neither, but that the blindness would be the means of showing His Divine mercy. There is a, lesson in this for us when we see sad things, and begin to think, why is this so? why does the Lord permit it? Some blessing may come from every sad and hard experience. It gives opportunity for kindness to one another. Often it may be the means of opening our eyes to the infinite kindness of the Lord.
And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When 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, And 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.—John IX. 1-7.
We see the poor man finding his way down the hill to the pool under the steep slope to the south of the temple. The water came to the pool by a tunnel cut through the rock of the hill, from the spring, called now the “Spring of the Virgin,” the old En Rogel, in the Kidron valley. It is a curious, crooked tunnel, five hundred and eighty-six yards long, made no doubt in the old time to bring the water from the spring, which was outside the city wall, to the pool which was inside the wall, so that the people could use the water even in time of siege. The blind man washed at the Pool of Siloam, and we see him coming again up the hill into the city, rejoicing in his new power to see the beautiful world around him. What a wonderful work the Lord had done! How much surprised the friends of the blind man must have been! Some who had seen him would not believe it was he. Should we not think that all the people would have been grateful to the Lord for this work, and that it would have shown them that He was really the Lord? It did help the man that was healed, to know the Lord, but the Pharisees remained blind.
And 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. The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He 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. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then 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. Therefore 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. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. But 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. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But 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. These 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.
Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He 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. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. The 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. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus 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? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. And 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. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.—John IX. 7-41.
Author: William L. Worcester 1904
Rivers of Eden, springs and rivers of Canaan, rivers, pools and aqueducts of Jerusalem >> The abundant cleansing and refreshing truth from the Lord in a heavenly state of life
Blind >> Spiritually blind >> One who does not understand the truth about the Lord and heavenly life
Serious blindness >> One who will not understand because he loves what is evil
Less serious blindness (easily cured) >> One who does not understand because he has never been taught about heavenly things
The water from the Lord’s own lips >> Instruction from the experience of His own life.
The ground with which it was mixed >> The simple natural forms in which the Lord’s truth is adapted to us in our natural state of mind
Anointing of the blind eyes with the clay >>Blessing with instruction of Heavenly Life and natural Good
The spiritual eyes of the blind man opening >> Knowing the Lord
All are born blind >> All are born in utter ignorance so that they may realize the glory of God
Water in the pool of Siloam >> Spiritual instruction
Washing >>The application of truth to the cleansing of life
Pictures: James Tissot —-Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum