(1) As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. . . (6) He spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then He anointed the man’s eyes with the mud (7) and said to him, “Go, “wash in the pool of Siloam” (which meant Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. (John 9: 1, 6-7 NIV).
In 2016, I experienced a partial loss of vision in my right eye due to a retinal branch vein occlusion. In layman’s terms, that’s an eye stroke. When I went for treatment, the retinal specialist also found that my eye pressure was too high and my cataracts now needed surgical removal. With so much to take in, this threat to my vision became uppermost in my mind.
Although I have had excellent care, the journey hasn’t been easy. After experiencing surgical complications, preserving my vision still involves frequent medical intervention. Now, the blind man’s story in John 9 has become more personal to me.
This man had never before experienced physical sight, but his story tells me that his hearing may have become acute. Modern medicine has reported that when one sense is missing, the brain rewires itself to compensate for that part of the brain not being used.
Jesus had just spoken in the temple. Had the blind man been listening? Did he hear that same voice when Jesus stood near him and realize who He was? Did Jesus deliberately walk nearby the blind man to test his trust that Jesus was the Son of God and could heal him? Did the blind man sense with his spiritual eyes what he could not with his physical eyes?
In pondering these verses, I think the blind man immediately recognized Jesus’ voice and heard Him say that He was the Light of the World sent by God the Father (see vv1-5). His hearing may have been more acute, but I believe the Holy Spirit was also at work, giving him spiritual vision. I believe this man’s heart leapt with joy at the sound of His voice and then again as he felt the Lord’s gentle touch. He knew he was in the presence of God and, that day, he received two sights: physical and spiritual.
Jesus could have healed the man with just His touch. So, why did He direct him to go to the Pool of Siloam and wash from his eyes the ointment He had applied? I believe it was a test of obedience. And it is at this part of the story that I pause to ponder more, to ask myself:
What am I doing with what He asks of me?
How intently do I listen for His voice?
How quickly do I act in obedience?
While I marvel at the miracle of Jesus’ healing, for me, the greater lesson is recognizing my need to listen more keenly and obey more immediately. I pray daily to retain my physical sight. I am reminded here to pray just as fervently for my spiritual sight – to hear God’s call to me and obey.