February 27, 2014
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am taking the good news today from John 9:6-12, a continuation of the story of the man blind from birth.
When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see. His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is,” but others said, “No, he just looks like him.” He said, “I am.” So they said to him, “[So] how were your eyes opened?” He replied, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went there and washed and was able to see.” And they said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I don’t know.”
Jerusalem sits on a hill with no source of water in its limits. Residents drew water from a spring in the Kidron Valley, not quite a quarter of a mile distant. Threatened by an imminent invasion, King Hezekiah had an underground tunnel measuring about two feet wide and six feet high bored through the rock from the spring into the city following a zig-zag course for nearly a third of a mile. It was quite an engineering feat and provided greater protection for Jerusalem from siege. The Pool of Siloam was the terminus of the tunnel. The New American Bible note posits that the tunnel and Pool represented Jesus, the anointed one sent by God as the conduit of His love and compassion. That explains why John added the parenthetical translation.
The miracle was the consequence of the blind man’s unquestioning response to Jesus’ command. Jesus was living water and light of the world. He brought light into the blind mans’ life. Even so, he didn’t recognize Jesus as God’s anointed one. To him he is simply the man named Jesus. He only knows that he is a healer. He returned to the place where Jesus smeared mud on his eyes, but Jesus was no longer there. He admits that he doesn’t know where Jesus is. I think it’s also an admission that he doesn’t understand who Jesus is or what has happened to him. It was a miracle wrapped in mystery.
Like the blind man I have to admit that that’s what Jesus is to me as well — a miracle wrapped in mystery. I need to be able to accept that I don’t know and not feel compelled to make the mystery of the miracle make sense to me in my limited capacity to understand. I am called to simply follow and obey without stopping to question, to try to understand the mystery. The reward for doing so is new sight, light flooding into my world so that I can see what has been hidden from me — God’s love and the inherent goodness He has created in each of us. It’s really very simple if I just let it be.