THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD TO HEAL THE BLINDNESS OF MAN
In verses 4 and 5 the Lord Jesus says, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” After reading these verses, we may wonder how to connect light and blindness. Apparently, light and blindness are not related.
Blindness denotes darkness. According to the Gospel of John, blindness issues in darkness. If you were blind, you would be in darkness, not able to see anything. According to the first Epistle of John, darkness also causes blindness: “But he who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:11). On the one hand, blindness causes darkness; on the other hand, darkness causes blindness. According to the Gospel of John, blindness comes first and then darkness. But according to the first Epistle of John, we first have darkness and then are blinded by this darkness. But since we are concerned in this message with chapter nine of the Gospel of John, we need to realize that here blindness is equal to darkness. Hence, the blind man in this chapter needs the light of the world.
THE SIGNS OF THE CLAY, THE LORD’S SPITTLE, AND THE ANOINTING
At this point we need to raise an important question: How can the light come into one who is born blind? We were born blind, and Christ is the light of the world (8:12). But how can this light enter into us? According to this chapter, in order for the light to come into us, we need the anointing. If we would understand this, we need to know the significance of the clay, the Lord’s spittle, and the anointing itself.
We may not regard the words “clay” and “spittle” as positive. Of course, the word “anointed” in verse 6 is certainly a positive term. The word “anointing” is a scriptural word. In his first Epistle John says, “You have an anointing from the Holy One,” and “His anointing teaches you concerning all things” (1 John 2:20, 27). John, no doubt, takes this word from chapter thirty of Exodus, which speaks of a holy anointing oil (v. 25). This is a further indication that the writings of John are the fulfillment of the tabernacle and the offerings. Our point here is that it is by the anointing that the light of the world is able to come into a man born blind.
The anointing in John 9 is a compound formed of earth mixed with spittle. We may say that the earth is compounded with the Lord’s spittle and mingled with it. In other words, the spittle saturates the earth and permeates it. The earth was dry at first, but after the spittle was mingled with it, the earth became wet and was made into clay. This clay, therefore, is a compound, and this compound was used as an ointment by the Lord Jesus to anoint the eyes of the blind man.
What the Lord Jesus did in 9:6 can be compared to the creation of man from the dust of the ground. Genesis 2:7 says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Here we see that man’s body was formed of the dust of the ground, that the Lord breathed the breath of life into him, and that man then became a living soul. The principle is nearly the same in chapter nine of John. In Genesis 2:7 we have dust; in John 9:6 we have the earth. In Genesis 2 the Lord breathed into man the breath of life; in John 9, the Lord spat on the ground and then made clay of the spittle.
Clay signifies the natural man, the man created by God. As those created by God, we all are clay. This is indicated not only by Genesis 2:7 but also by the word of the Apostle Paul: “Has not the potter authority over the clay, out of the same lump to make one vessel to honor and another to dishonor?” (Rom. 9:21). We are vessels made of clay to contain God Himself.
The spittle, as something that proceeds out of the Lord’s mouth (Matt. 4:4), signifies His words, which are spirit and life (John 6:63). The words the Lord speaks issue from His mouth, and His words are spirit and life. Therefore, spittle signifies the words that issue out of the Lord’s mouth.
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 26, by Witness Lee)