1.As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was.
Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
11 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.”John 9:1-11
Zoe read this passage the other day as part of her Bible lessons, and I thought about it in a different way. Most of the time, I’m focused on that first part where Jesus explains that the man’s blindness was not the result of some personal sin, either his or his parents. I mentioned this when I wrote about my sister’s memorial service.
The rest of time I’ve thought about John 9, I wondered why Jesus chose this miracle in such a way. Why the spit? Why the dirt? Then the trip to the pool? Yes, there’s an abundance of meaning and symbolism all through there. But spit? And dirt? Living Water and dust to dust, I suppose.
Then lastly, it has always intrigued me that some of the formerly-blind man’s neighbors didn’t recognize him once his disability was gone. It’s like once Blind Pete was no longer blind, he couldn’t even be Pete anymore. I’m pretty sure a majority of people who have met me in the past few years only know me as “Handicapped Alisha,” the chick with the walker. I think if they came across me seated at a restaurant with the walker pushed aside, I’d be “Z’s Mom,” “K’s Wife,” or that old classic, “The One with the Glasses and Big Nose.”
But this week, upon hearing that passage, I thought: “What happens if we can’t get any of that special Jesus of Nazareth Holy Land Healing Masque™? Can I, Handicapped Alisha, neé Big Nose, still display the works of God?”
There are many people who have all kinds of disabilities, or physical, mental and emotional illnesses and still live out the Gospel. Joni Eareckson Tada has inspired millions. So yes, I know that it’s possible to help build people up spiritually AND not having experienced the masque and Siloam pool rejuvenation package. No, am I, personally willing to show the wondrous works of God can come packaged in a body wracked and progressively wrecking?
And I pose that question to you, Dear Readers (all what, 4 of you?). Are you ready to be the Godly version of a retro Bergdorf’s holiday window? People are going to look anyway (yeah, I see your quite obvious stares). Mine as well give them something- Someone- to focus on.