We have all had at least two moments in our lives when we have been blind physically. When we are first born we are temporarily blind. Our eyes have not been put into use yet and now suddenly the body is no longer inside the darkness of the womb. The light that surrounds us easily overcomes the newborn sight and must be adjusted too.
The other moment of blindness is also usually temporary. It might last a couple of split seconds do to that flash from the camera in our face, to a few seconds from some other flash of light such as that on-coming driver who has has high beams on. In either case the iris begins it’s work on adjusting the amount of light that is allowed to pass through to the cornea. Both cases causes the person to look away, too much light hurts, distracts us, and gets us off course until we can adjust to it.
Back in 2000 I had Lasik Eye Surgery. After that surgery I went from just a couple of points shy of being legally blind in my left eye to 20/20 vision. My digital alarm clock that sat roughly three feet from my bed with two inch tall letters was nearly impossible for me to make out without my glasses on.
Yet after that surgery which had restored my vision I developed another problem, one which was quite common. It took about 4 years or so for it to really diminish to where it didn’t bother me. I had become light sensitive. Head lights and street lights would have halos around them. There would be times at night while driving that there would simply be too much artificial light and I had to wear sunglasses. A great many people must have thought I thought myself just so cool! But still though I didn’t care, I could see!
There are other forms of blindness. Snow blindness is defined as the usually temporary dimming of the sight by the glare of reflected sunlight on snow. While I don’t know about any one else too much nice white snow hurts my eyes. And I am not picking on snow here, I need color to be added to break up all that white or I can’t see and get head aches. It is simply too much light being reflected back up and at me.
One time in my long gone youth, I was blinded by allergies. Back some where around ’84 or ’85 me and my folks went to visit my grandmother in Kentucky. She had a couple of spare bedrooms so instead of sleeping on the couch as I have had to do at other relatives homes I got a bed. The next morning I wished I had slept on the couch. Nothing in the bed room had really been cleaned for quite awhile let along dusted. And nobody was sure when the blankets and sheets had last been changed. We knew I had an allergy to dust mites, guess it just didn’t click with anybody.
Anyway the next day I woke up and couldn’t see. My eyelids were swollen shut due to the reaction to all the dust mites. While I don’t remember how long it took to get my eyes cleared it wasn’t just a couple of minutes; and to a kid that was really bad. My mom used a lot of eye drops and cool wash clothes to help get the swelling down. Honestly I don’t remember if there were any allergy pills involved or not but I do know I was flat on my back most of the day.
Blindness can come about a number of ways. Many have accidents that rob them of their precious vision. There are those who loose their sight over time due to age or other health conditions. And of course there are those who are born blind whose vision never opens up for them to see this world.
In John chapter 9 we are introduced to a man who was blind from birth. This man had never seen a speck of the world around him. And while his other senses would have improved themselves to try and compensate for this lost sight they couldn’t do the full of job of the eyes.
Yet here comes Jesus, and you will note that Jesus never went anywhere without a purpose. Everyone Jesus interacted with was by design not random chance. Those around him may have saw it that way but in so doing they missed his point. This particular day Jesus showed up to give this man his sight.
What Jesus did was a bit unusual though. He didn’t command the man’s eyes to be opened. Nor did he just touch the eyes so that they would see. Instead he made so clay and covered his eyes with it and told him to go to the pool of Siloam (which means Sent).
How does a blind man go somewhere? We don’t read of anyone escorting him there. No mention is made of him knowing how to get there or of him asking directions. All we see is that he goes. Once he arrives at the pool he washes. Perhaps he stumbled somewhere along the way to the pool; not being able to see makes navigation tricky. It could be that he had learned his way to the pool based on his other four senses, in so doing he wouldn’t have to stumble or fall along the way.
But here is the thing with blindness, in the light things are different. After my surgery for example I could see things in low light that others with their regular 20/20 vision couldn’t. I was just so used to the blindness that I could in essence appreciate my vision all the more. But again too much light overwhelmed me where as everyone else was fine.
This man who may have known the way there based on his remaining four senses really should have been thrown off by suddenly being able to see so clearly. And yet the Bible records in v7 “and came seeing.” He went there blind and his eyes covered in clay, so no chance he could see to get there. Never having been able to see before should have made navigation for him uncomfortable and slow. Maybe he should have been so overcome with delight of this new found sense that he would take his time enjoying the wonder of it all before he left (if he did it ain’t recorded). But there it is he ‘came seeing’.
How did he know how to get back? The training of his other four senses should have been overwhelmed so that it would created confusion, yet it didn’t. He could have gone off in any direction to explore this whole new world, yet he didn’t. He knew which way he needed to go and he followed that course, though he had never walked it before.
Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” With Jesus being “the way” it is easy to see how the blind man came seeing, he now knew who Jesus was. He may not have known everything about Jesus (v25) but he knew that he was God’s man (v30-33). And when he was confronted by Jesus about his spiritual blindness (v35-37) this man cast off the rest of his blind condition and accepted Jesus as his savior, v38.