Anointed the eyes of the blind man - It would be difficult to find out the reason which induced our Lord to act thus. It is certain, this procedure can never be supposed to have been any likely medical means to restore sight to a man who was born blind; this action, therefore, had no tendency to assist the miracle. If his eye-lids had been only so gummed together that they needed nothing but to be suppled and well washed, it is not likely that this could possibly have been omitted from his birth until now. The Jews believed that there was some virtue in spittle to cure the diseases of the eye; but then they always accompanied this with some charm. Our Lord might make clay with the spittle to show that no charms or spells were used, and to draw their attention more particularly to the miracle which he was about to work. Perhaps the best lesson we can learn from this is: That God will do his own work in his own way; and, to hide pride from man, will often accomplish the most beneficial ends by means not only simple or despicable in themselves, but by such also as appear entirely contrary, in their nature and operation, to the end proposed to be effected by them.
And made clay - Two reasons may be assigned for making this clay, and anointing the eyes with it. One is, that the Jews regarded spittle as medicinal to the eyes when diseased, and that they forbade the use of medicines on the Sabbath. They regarded the Sabbath so strictly that they considered the preparation and use of medicines as contrary to the law. Especially it was particularly forbidden among them to use spittle on that day to heal diseased eyes. See instances in Lightfoot. Jesus, therefore, by making this spittle, showed them that their manner of keeping the day was superstitious, and that he dared to do a thing which they esteemed unlawful. He showed that their interpretation of the law of the Sabbath was contrary to the intention of God, and that his disciples were not bound by their notions of the sacredness of that day. Another reason may have been that it was common for prophets to use some symbolical or expressive action in working miracles. Thus, Elisha commanded his staff to be laid on the face of the child that he was about to restore to life, 2 Kings 4:29. Compare the notes at Isaiah 8:18. In such instances the prophet showed that the miracle was performed by power communicated through him; so, in this case, Jesus by this act showed to the blind man that the power of healing came from him who anointed his eyes. He could not see him, and the act of anointing convinced him of what might have been known without such an act, could he have seen him that Jesus had power to give sight to the blind.
On one occasion Christ anointed the eyes of a blind man with clay and bade him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.... He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.” John 9:7. The cure could be wrought only by the power of the Great Healer, yet Christ made use of the simple agencies of nature. While He did not give countenance to drug medication, He sanctioned the use of simple and natural remedies. MH 233.1
When we have prayed for the recovery of the sick, whatever the outcome of the case, let us not lose faith in God. If we are called upon to meet bereavement, let us accept the bitter cup, remembering that a Father's hand holds it to our lips. But should health be restored, it should not be forgotten that the recipient of healing mercy is placed under renewed obligation to the Creator. When the ten lepers were cleansed, only one returned to find Jesus and give Him glory. Let none of us be like the unthinking nine, whose hearts were untouched by the mercy of God. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17. MH 233.2Read in context »