Out of the ridiculous comes the miraculous
Ordinarily, ridiculous means “stupid or unreasonable and deserving to be laughed at.” It could also mean silly, outrageous and ludicrous. This presupposes that in ridiculous, nothing normal or good would come out of it. However, when the divine is involved out of such silly situations miracles that defy science, logic and human reasoning emerge. Therefore, in our meditation today, we are going to see how Jesus used saliva to give sight to the blind.
In the Bible, we have three instances, where Jesus was said to have healed with saliva, (see Mark 7:33, 8:23 and John 9:6). Naturally, it does not make sense; yet, Jesus used it to restore sight. However, some schools of thought have come up with possible reasons why Jesus used saliva to heal.
First, it is possible that Jesus’ use of mud in John 9 was meant to parallel God’s original creation of man: “The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7). In other words, Jesus showed His power as the Creator by imitating the original creation of man: He used the “dust of the ground” to give the man born blind new sight. The creative power of Jesus’ miracle was not lost on the man who was healed: “Since the world began, it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing” (John 9:32-33, NKJV).
Secondly, another possible reason for Jesus’ use of His saliva has to do with the beliefs of His contemporary culture. Several Roman writers and Jewish rabbis considered saliva to be a valid treatment for blindness. Since the people of that time had a high view of saliva’s healing properties, Jesus used spit to communicate His intention to heal. Those being healed would have naturally interpreted Jesus’ spitting as a sign that they would soon be cured.
The greater need of each of those healed was the need for increased faith. Jesus recognised this spiritual need and offered a physical action as a means of raising their expectations and focusing their faith on Himself. Thus, in Mark 8, the man’s spiritual sight was strengthened, even as physical sight was imparted to him.
Incontestably, common sense and logic does not seem to appreciate that saliva could be such a potent force. If it were to be so, why then do we still have blind people in the world? Does it mean that saliva is no longer available for healing? Or, is it not ridiculous that such a serious matter could be attended to by mere saliva. In fact, no matter how we look at it, it still does not make sense particularly to the natural man.
Nevertheless, people of God are aware that God the Creator is always using the ridiculous to manifest His power. We have scores of stories to buttress His action in this dimension. God asked Moses “…to stretch out his hand over the sea and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night and made the sea into dry land and the waters were divided,” (Exodus 14:21); Elisha told Naaman “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times and your flesh shall be restored to you and you shall be clean,” (2 Kings 5:10); God instructed His children to march round the wall of Jericho and it fell down flat, (Jos. 6:1-20); even St. Paul in the same manner “… handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them and his shadow was used to heal,” (Acts 19:12), also, ordinary singing by Paul and Silas in the prison caused a great earthquake to arise and the foundation of the prison was open to let them out of the prison (Acts 16:25-34). Really, out of the ridiculous comes the miraculous. Alleluia!
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.