Spittle: A Facial Mud Mask By Jesus


When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,

And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

John 9:6-7

This story of Jesus healing a blind man is just one example of the seemingly bizarre ways in which Jesus worked. For most of my life stories like this seemed to raise questions rather than inspire me. He didn’t always do this so what is the meaning behind spitting in the mud and smearing on this poor man’s eyelids? To be honest, I think I would have reacted with disgust and horror.

One explanation for this miracle says that it is a reminder of how God created man from the clay. Jesus demonstrates His power by performing a miracle with this association, one that would not have been lost on the Jews. Okay, well, that’s one explanation.

Another explanation says that people at that time believed that saliva could heal blindness. Jesus demonstrated His healing power with this miracle. Again, another attempt at speculation but even less helpful. I believe we can find the reason why Jesus spat on the ground by looking at what happened in the following verses.

I find it interesting that Jesus doesn’t heal the man immediately and in His presence. He sends him away to the pool of Siloam to wash his eyes and receive his sight. You can only imagine what he was thinking as he’s walking through the village with mud on his eyes. Did he have any doubts? Was he thinking that this was all just a waste and that he may have just made a fool out of himself?

And then comes the life-changing moment when the light floods in and he can see everything he’s only ever imagined. What’s amazing is that he has no idea what Jesus looks like. He now has sight but the man who healed him remains invisible. At this point he is a type that represents all believers who have come to faith after Jesus’ ascension. Jesus says of them to Thomas that they are blessed because they believe even though they have not seen. He knows he’s been healed but he just hasn’t seen Jesus.

The news spread quickly as everyone saw this familiar man walking around town. I can’t help thinking that Jesus did this on purpose, knowing that many people would see the blind man walking and seeing. Jesus is not around but the evidence of His healing power is indisputable. They are forced to make a choice about what to believe concerning Jesus and His identity.

I think it’s worth noting that Jesus isn’t the first person the man sees. He could probably recognize His voice but he couldn’t describe Him to anyone. All he could say is that a man named Jesus put mud on his eyes and told him to wash it off at the pool. His testimony was his evidence.

We should be able to identify with the blind man because he is a picture of every believer today. You were once blind but now you see even though you haven’t laid eyes on Jesus. The only evidence is the fruit that the gospel has borne in your life. People say of you, “Isn’t he/she the one who…?” No one can doubt the change and the power yet they refuse to acknowledge the explanation.

Later on we read that blind man stumbles in his faith when the religious leaders pressure him. If he struggled when he received such a tangible miracle then we shouldn’t think it will be easier for us. Nevertheless, God’s grace is sufficient for even us. We also have the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within us.

My dad always says that he believes in God because he’s seen the power of God at work in his life. Let us also look at what God’s power has done to us and cling to the gospel that was preached to us without flinching or wavering. He is able.