Theophylact_the_Bulgarian (1)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).

When He had thus spoken—Jesus did not stop with words, but at once added the deed—He spat on the ground, and having made clay, He anointed the eyes of the blind man.

By using the clay, the Lord showed that it was He Who formed Adam out of clay.

Earlier He announced, in so many words, “I am He Who formed Adam,” offending His listeners; now He demonstrates with an irrefutable deed the truth of that proclamation.

Jesus created eyes for the blind man out of clay, just as He had done for Adam. He did not merely fashion the eyes, or open them, but gave them vision.

This proves that it was He Who breathed the soul into Adam. Without the soul being present to impart its divine energy, even a perfectly formed eye would see nothing.

Christ used spittle to make him see, because He was about to send the blind man to the pool of Siloam and wanted to make clear that He, not the water of that spring, was the source of the miracle.

Let us learn that He fashioned and opened the man’s eyes by the power which  proceeds from His mouth; this is why He spat on the ground to make clay.

Then, lest anyone imagine that the source of the miracle was the earth, He ordered the man to wash off the clay…. Why does He command him to go to the pool of Siloam?

First, that we may learn of the blind man’s faith and obedience. He did not reason, “If the clay and the spittle will give me eyes, why must I wash in the pool of Siloam?” Instead, he obeyed the One Who commanded.

Second…, it is likely that many saw Him anoint the man’s eyes with clay and paid close attention to what He was doing. As a result, no one could later dispute that the Lord had done these things.

Third, by sending the blind man to the pool of Siloam, Christ shows that He is not an opponent of the Old Testament.

And why does the Evangelist add the interpretation of the word “Siloam”? So that you might learn that the pool of Siloam is a figure of Christ, and that it was Christ Who healed the man there.

Just as Christ is the spiritual Rock, so is He the spiritual Siloam. As the gush of the spring of Siloam was fearful in its strength, so too the advent of the Lord, hidden and unknown to the angels, overwhelmed all sin by its power.

Theophylact of Ohrid (1055-1107): Explanation of the Gospel of John, published by Chrysostom Press; online version of John 9:1-38 @ Kandylaki.

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