Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Clarity Through Mud

In college I worked for a wonderful professor who was particularly fond of writing about humor in the Bible. I appreciated the gift of his laughter and sometimes wondered if the stories that he shared were humorous to me more because of the red nose that he would often don when recounting a tale than because of the story itself! Either way, I came to appreciate his love for the many emotions carried by Scripture, including that of laughter.

If there is one story in the Bible that has always made me laugh, it is the story of the man who was blind from birth recorded in John 9. I continually find the unbelief of the Pharisees in questioning the blind man humorous. The Pharisees ask the poor blind man the same questions over and over again only to the exasperation of the healed man who finally says, "I have told you already [who opened my eyes] and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?" That last question always makes me smile.

Another humorous part of this story caught my attention recently. How funny is it that the blind man, who wanted to see clearly, is made to wash his eyes in a paste of dirt and saliva? I can only imagine how long the blind man had yearned in his soul just to see clearly, just to see rightly. To the place of his deep yearning, Jesus effectively conveys that in order to see rightly, the blind man must first subject his eyes to mud. The ways of God working among man are mysterious!

When I pray to see correctly, I want to immediately wash in the Pool of Siloam. But the healing of God comes to the blind man, first through mud and dirt and then through the cleansing pool waters. And here I find myself once again identifying with that man blind from birth, "Lord, I prayed for clarity, for vision, and you placed only mud on my eyes!"

I am grateful to that blind man because he showed such grace in receiving the saliva and dirt. Only then was he given the command, "Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam." Lord, I await your command.