“Having said these things, he (Jesus) spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.” – John 9:6-7
In reading John 9, I’ve often wondered why Jesus made a mud salve and applied it to the blind man’s eyes? Why didn’t Jesus just heal the man’s eyes outright with a verbal or non-verbal command? What was the mud salve all about?
In his single-volume Bible commentary, John MacArthur suggests that “Jesus may have used the clay to fashion a new pair of eyes.” Hmm, that’s certainly a possibility but it seems like a stretch given the text. In his Thru-the Bible commentary, J. Vernon McGee doesn’t even attempt to explain Jesus’s use of mud salve.
Yesterday, I may have stumbled across the answer. A book I’m currently reading points out that the Mishna of the Talmud prohibited Jews from applying soothing mud salves to a person’s ailing eyes on the Sabbath:
“To heal a blind man on the Sabbath…it is…prohibited to make mud with spittle and smear it on his eyes” (Shabbat 108:2).
Well, of course. That’s it. Jesus not only ignored the traditions of the Pharisees by healing the blind man on the Sabbath, but he purposly used a mud salve in the healing in direct defiance of the specific regulations of the Talmud! This would seem to be an excellent explanation of Jesus’s use of the mud salve.
“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” – Matthew 15:8-9
Praise the Lord for curing my spiritual blindness and allowing me to comprehend the “Good News!” of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone! Are man-made religious traditions coming between you and salvation in Christ Jesus? Accept Jesus as your Savior by faith alone!