John, Chapter 9

- מ ו ם -

The Water of Siloam Pool Restores a Blind Man’s Sight

1And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 6When 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, 7And 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. 8The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? 9Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.(John 9:1-9)

Jesus walks through Jerusalem and sees a man who was born blind. Jesus’ disciples ask him whether the man’s condition is a consequence of his own sins, or those of his parents. Jesus responds by saying that the man’s blindness was not caused by anyone’s misdoings, but is rather part of Jesus’ mission to bring light into the world and restore harmony to humankind. Jesus spits on the ground and creates mud with his saliva, in doing so reenacting the creation of Adam from dust (see Genesis 2). Jesus spreads the mud on the man’s eyes and instructs him to immerse himself in a pool whose name (שילוח; “Shiloach” or “Siloam”) is derived from the Hebrew word for “mission” (שליחות; “shlichut”). After recovering his sight, the man’s neighbors wonder whether this is indeed the same beggar they had known before. Though the (formerly) blind man tries to convince them that he is indeed the same man, the opposite could also be argued because, after immersing in Siloam Pool, the man became purified and ascended spiritually. As such, he is now a new man, cleansed on the inside and restored with balance. Every individual has the ability to restore harmony to the world and it is our mission to bring light and kindness to others.

Purity is achieved by restricting negative impulses and eliminating evil thoughts and deeds.