John 9:1-33

Liz Dumain considers the importance of getting rid of the 'mud', so we can 'see' like the blind man who was healed in John 9:1-33.

Liz Dumain
Liz Dumain

In John 9:1-33 Jesus meets a man who had been blind from birth. He spits and makes mud; not nice clean clay. At a time when there were no roads, lots of animals and many open sewers, we probably don't need to stretch our minds too far as to what was in the mud. He smears it on the blind man and tells him to go and wash in a pool.

Ordinary day-to-day spit and mud starts a chain of healing.

I changed my car recently and my old car has gone to some friends of mine. Nothing like that to really make you clean your car up! I would have said that I kept my old car in pretty good condition. It had a wash and wax every now and again, but facing the reality of my car cleanliness being scrutinised by friends of mine, I began to discover just how many types of car mud there really are.

There was sticky mud under the wheel arch; disgusting mud around the rim of the petrol cap; when I'd taken it to the car wash it seemed there was an immediate fine layer of mud on the lights. It reminded me of the time when I thought one of my car headlights wasn't working properly, but discovered that it was actually mud that was preventing the lights shining properly! Mud gets everywhere.

When I read about Jesus making mud from the dirt on the ground, I am reminded of the creation narrative, when God makes humanity out of dust - dirt - the same stuff on the ground that Jesus heals with here. But the dirt man was not alive. God needed to breathe life into the dirt - into the mud, and bring the man to life. Just as we men and women made from dirt, need the breath of God to be fully alive.

Jesus acted, the man responded, and healing was released. No more mud. No more blindness, no more shame.

God calls, we respond, and life in all its fullness floods in. No more mud.

I wonder how often we feel more like the blind man covered in mud, rather than the healed man shouting for joy? More stuck in the mud than filled with the breath of God?

There's so much more than being stuck in the mud.

There's being full of the breath of life.
There's hearing and responding to Jesus every day.
There's knowing His breath in our lungs, His word in our hearts and His song on our lips.

There's being attuned to the call of Jesus, hearing and feeling His spirit at work, and living every day truly experiencing life in all its fullness.

This week it feels like there's a question. How much do you want to be alive, or will you settle for mud?

That man wanted to be healed so much he was willing to be obedient. He did something out of the ordinary, because he longed for something that Jesus offered, and he trusted Him that if he did as He said, then his longing would be satisfied.

He needed to get beyond just mud. And so do we.

Do you need to wash some mud off today?

Whether it's washing off mud as an act of obedience to what you know deep down God is calling you to do, but it feels crazy and scary, or risks ridicule. Or whether it's the other kind of mud, the sticky, holding us back, dragging us down type of mud that sucks us away from God. Or the mud of our choices taking us backwards with what we watch, what we do, what we drink, what we look at online and how we spend our time.

Whether it's the mud like the mud on my car lights that has just built up over time, so gradually I didn't notice that my lights were dimming. It's possible to have believed in God for decades and never experienced the breath of life. That's like mud that blinds us. It's possible to know about Jesus, but never have the word of life come alive. That's like mud too. It's possible to be just too settled, too comfortable, too complacent and like the mud that had built up in the cracks in my car chassis, gradually unaware of God.

What if like the man with mud on his eyes, we act? What if we decide to be braver, risk ridicule, trust hugely, put our lives, reputations and security on the line and really go for it? CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.