Mud bath

John 9 teaches us about one of Jesus’ miracles.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (1-3)

Jesus’ disciples wanted to know why the man was born blind. It must be somebody’s fault, right? Jesus responds that it is no one’s fault. This can be difficult to accept for our cause and effect minds. The fact is that humanity is messy. The world is broken by sin. Sometimes stuff happens. Jesus’ response, however, says that, regardless of the circumstances, they can be used to glorify the Father. What does He do next?

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. (6-7)

What an odd response. Jesus spits on the ground to make mud. Clearly, as the son of God with the ability to restore sight, He did not need to make mud in order to do it. He just had to say the word and it would be done. Was He just playing to the crowd? Was Jesus grandstanding? No, He was making a larger point. In the Bible, dirt represents humanity. Jesus was showing us that He works through our dirt. He is able to take our dirt, add Himself (He described Himself as the living water that never runs out, John 4), and make a miracle out of a mess.

We are all a mess. Being a Christian does not mean that you are perfect, it just means that you invited Jesus into your dirt to add His water and make mud. I am praying that you will make that decision right now. You are loved more than you can ever know. I promise you that.

About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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