Biblical Studies Home Page Biblical Studies Journal Volume 9, Number 2
August 24, 2008
Journal Subjects

From The Dust, Again

by Bill Moore

At the end of John chapter 8, Jesus is finishing a debate with the Pharisees in the temple treasury. He makes the revealing statement, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Not only is He declaring His eternal existence, He claims the same nature as God the Father.

"And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." --Exodus 3:14

Jesus uses "I AM" to reveal the identity he shares with the one who spoke to Moses from the burning bush. This really angers his listeners who then make an attempt to stone Jesus (John 8:59 [1]). Keep these bold claims in mind as we try to understand the miracle at the beginning of John 9.

The healing of the man born blind is noteworthy not only for the severity of the infirmity, but also for the unusual way in which Jesus performs the healing (John 9:6-7 [2])). Jesus spits on the ground to make a mud with which he anoints the eyes of the blind man and says, "Go wash in the pool of Siloam."

Spit and mud? There are other times that Jesus uses his saliva in healings (Mark 7:32-35, 8:23-25 [3]), but just this once does he combine it with dust on the ground to make a mud ointment. It seems such a strange way to accomplish the healing; this is not how men would attempt to heal a blind man [4].

But Jesus is not a mere man. He was in the beginning with God the Father, creating Adam from the dust (Col. 1:15-17 [5]). So Jesus' use of dust from the earth to heal a man is not unreasonable since that is the way he originally created man. So the Creator provided the blind man with eyes restored from the dust of the ground.


[1] John 8:59

So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

[2] John 9:6-7

Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

[3]Mark 7:32-35
And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.

Mark 8:23-25
And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, "Do you see anything?" And he looked up and said, "I see men, but they look like trees, walking." Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

[4] When men approach the problem of atrophied eyes, they are more likely to use animal parts or dig up cadavers to obtain replacement eyes than attempt to create them from inorganic material. Many have tried but life has never been seen to come from anything but life.

[5] Colossians 1:15-17

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

© 2008 Fishinger and Kenny Roads Church of Christ. Permission granted to quote and copy with full attribution including a reference to