In John 9:1-41 there is the account of when Jesus heals a man born blind with an ointment that He made by spitting in clay.  Making an ointment out by splitting in clay?  What is up with that?

An excerpt : [1] As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. [2] And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” [3] Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. [4] We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. [5] As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” [6] As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man’s eyes with the clay,  [7] saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Silo’am” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

There are likely several reasons, but each point to the Great Genius of Jesus Christ as He implements His plan of Salvation:

  • Irenaeus, an early Church Father (late 100’s a.d.), in his writings Against Heresies, suggests that Jesus Christ is making a New Creation; in the First Creation in Genesis (Gen 2:7), God first makes man out of the dust of the earth.  Jesus, by using His own Holy Spit (this sounds very strange, but all things of Christ are Holy!) and combining it with clay, is making a New Creation in which sins are healed and we are forgiven.  
  • Paul confirms the idea of the New Creation:  “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17).
  • By taking ordinary earthly materials, making them Holy and using them to heal us, Jesus is laying the ground work for the Holy Sacraments; in this case, the Anointing of the Sick.  These Seven Sacraments of the New Covenant will heal the body and soul and are visible instruments of Grace (CCC 1504).

Every thing that our Lord does is purposeful, for He is Divine Purpose itself.  Jesus Christ, with the Father at the beginning of Creation (John 1:1), has always had a plan of Salvation.  Jesus has a strategy for saving humanity, and it is unfolding in our world today.

Stepping back from the Gospel, it is awe-inspiring to reflect on how the Divine Strategist is at work, saving us, even with mud and spit.