Summary: The blind saw Jesus, but the Pharisees couldn't. What were the differences in their blindnesses and what can we learn from the man born blind?
(Before reading the text and opening with prayer, we sang the following chorus:
“I saw the light, I saw the light
No more darkness, no more night
Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight
For praise the Lord… I saw the light.”)
OPEN: When I’m preparing for a sermon, a lot of times I’ll take little side trips kind of like chasing a rabbit down a hole. I’ll often ask “Why did Jesus say this?” Or “Why did this person do that?” Or “Why did the Bible say it this way?”
And a lot of times, going down those rabbit hole prove interesting… just like in our sermon today.
ILLUS: In the days of Jesus did you know there was only one source of fresh water in Jerusalem? It came from the Spring of Gihon located just outside the north side of the city. The city protected it with a set of towers, but about 800 years before Jesus was born, King Hezekiah decided they needed a more accessible way to get that water in the city and he built a tunnel underneath the streets of the city. It ran for 1700 feet from the spring of Gihon… to the Pool of Siloam.
(At this point I showed a few pictures of the tunnel with modern day explorers mugging for the cameras. THEN I showed a picture of the scale model rendering of that part of the city making special notation of the pool in relation to the Temple which was just north of it)
Now, the pool of Siloam served many purposes for the people of Jerusalem. Of course, it supplied fresh drinking water, but it was also located in the poorer section of town and it was a place where the poor and sick would come to bathe. If you were a Gentile and you converted to Judaism – one of the requirements for making that conversion was to be baptized, and the pool at Siloam was one of the places that was used for that.
In addition - during the “feast of tabernacles” - every morning for the first 7 days of that feast a priest would take a golden vessel to the Pool of Siloam, fill it with water, and then he’d bring it back to the altar amid the shouts of the people and he’d pour the water on the west side of the altar, while another priest would pour a drink offering of wine on the east side of the altar.
One other items that occurred to me just this morning had to do with a comment from one scholar, that when Herod the Great rebuilt the 2nd Temple (which is where Jesus did much of His ministry) that he’d designed a way to pump “living water” up from beneath the floor of the Temple to wash down the altar, utensils and floor after the bloodiness of the day of sacrifice. I’m not sure, but it’s logical that that source of “living water” had to come from the tunnels of Hezekiah as they made their way down to the pool of Siloam.
In addition, the pool of Siloam was also referred to as (pause for effect) the “Messiah’s pool”.
This pool of Siloam was the place Jesus sent the blind man to be healed of his blindness.
Now there’s an oddity about this healing thing Jesus did for the blind man. Ordinarily when Jesus healed someone, He’d touch them or simply say “You’re healed”… and they’d be healed! But this time was different. This time, Jesus spat into the dirt, and he made a mud paste which He applied to the blind man’s eyes and told the man “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” John 9:7