Why did Jesus use mud salve to heal the blind man’s eyes?

“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!

13 thoughts on “Why did Jesus use mud salve to heal the blind man’s eyes?

  1. Hey! I found this really interesting, I have always wondered the same thing. Jesus could have just simply thought, “be healed” and he would’ve been, but he didn’t. His ways truly are higher than ours! Also, I was wondering if you could tell me what you thought of my first post? is it too long? does it even make sense? you know, that sort of thing.

    ~ A.S

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post Tom! I’ve often wondered the same thing. The blind man was rewarded for his faith in our Savior. Lord, increase my faith!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That was exactly my reaction, Tom!

        Shows some other things, too. Anybody who says the Bible is all they need to study the Bible is quite mistaken. The historical, cultural, and linguistics context matters hugely.

        Also…our Lord sure knew how to make a point when He needed too!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jim! Yup, that was a very interesting nugget of information. I read it in an “interesting” book called “Pagan Christianity,” which I reviewed yesterday.

      Liked by 1 person

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