Jesus Spit


John 9:1-17 NIV

As he went 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?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”).

So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

“How then were your eyes opened?” they asked. He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

“Where is this man?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said.

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Jesus made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees asked him how he had received his sight.
“He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided. Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

Jesus Spit

If my kids at The Baby Fold were asked what their favorite scripture was, they might go with, “Jesus spit…” They love this story, because they get what Jesus was doing here. He intentionally broke the Sabbath- spitting was not allowed because it could roll downhill and make mud- which would be considered work by the Pharisees. Jesus could have healed the man with a touch of his hand or even from a distance. But He didn’t. He had so little time on earth to teach, so He often gives us two lessons in one. He heals and he teaches us about priorities in one compassionate event. He declares that he is the light of the world, and then he opens the eyes of the blind and shows us our need for spiritual enlightenment. And he does it with a bit of saliva….

The argument that ensues is almost comical if it wasn’t so tragic. The Pharisees cannot let go of their rules that make them feel superior, even in the midst of a joyous miracle. As soon as it was known that Jesus made mud, someone “tattles.” Immediately, the Pharisees are involved. The people bring the man to them. Verse 14 is telling, “Now the day on which Jesus made the mud (and opened the man’s eyes) was a Sabbath. The parentheses are mine, but can’t you just hear it that way? The healing is secondary in the blind eyes of the Pharisees. When the man testifies that Jesus put mud on his eyes, they jump to their verdict. This man is not from God.
Their spiritual eyes are blind. But the healed man has his opened. He refers to Jesus as man (vs. 11), by vs. 17, Jesus is a prophet. Stay tuned to the next verses when the man declares Him LORD.


Father, let us never get so caught up with how we think things should be that we miss your compassion. Help us to look at our challenges as opportunities “to display the works of God.”
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Lori Bultemeier is a Deacon and serving at The Baby Fold in Normal.