So many ways to go here. But I’d like to focus on that pool where Jesus tells the blind man to wash: what that meant then, and how this speaks to each of us today.
First, Jesus puts mud in his eyes. Other years, I’ve talked about that great toast that I grew up with: before clinking glasses, “Here’s mud in your eye!” That comes from this passage. “Here’s to seeing things in a new and healthy way!” First Jesus puts mud in his eyes, and then he tells him to go wash off that mud...
This is the 6th sign of Jesus in the Gospel of John. The 1st, you’ll remember is the water-to-wine. Then — we’ve skipped a bunch jumping to Chapter 9 today, but — Jesus also heals the royal official’s son, heals the paralytic, feeds the 5000, walks on water. Then the blind man today. Then Lazarus.) All signs point to Jesus’ divinity.
7 signs all together in John. And it’s no coincidence that there are also 7 days of creation, way back in Genesis. Jesus is re-creating, re-newing, re-defining, re-freshing the whole creation in these 7 signs. So, hear these stories and wonders of Jesus in a cosmic, universal context. They’re always about/symbolizing much more than just one person being healed (or even 5000 being fed) a long time ago...
So today is the 6th sign, Transfiguration Sunday: Jesus puts mud in the blind man’s eyes and then tells him to “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam (which means sent).” Go wash in the Sending Waters.
So what does it mean to wash in the Pool of Sent? In the Sending Bath? Sounds like a baptismal font to me! ;)
First of all: [page through your worship folder]
See the sections? What’s the longest section?
Trick question: Sending...
So again, what does it mean to be washed in the Sending Waters? In the Pool of Sent (or Siloam)?
The once-blind man’s story gives us some ideas to instruct us for the “longest part of the worship service”:
First of all, being washed in the Sending waters means being healed! Christ heals us too! What are your “blind spots”? Think about that this week. And know that Jesus puts mud in our eyes too and sends us also past the the Sent Pool and out into the world anew, re-freshed, re-created, re-defined! The Word and the Meal are like mud in our eyes, and then as we pass by those holy waters on the way out we have been made new! Being washed means that we are healed, sisters and brothers in Christ!
Being washed in “Sent” means being honest. “All I know is that once I was blind but now I see.” Here’s what I know. Pay attention to your experience. I feel like 9x out of 10 when a person changes they’re mind about something (maybe this has happened to you?), it’s not because of a new doctrine that got rammed down their throat; it’s because of an experience:
*All I know is that once I never really cared that deeply for protecting the environment, for example, but then I spent a week in the Rockies hiking and camping…
*All I know is that I was taught that gay people were bad and dirty and wrong, but then I met Lawrence…
*All I’ve ever know is that I always thought Christians were judgmental and insular even cruel, and then I came to SVLC...
The blind man reminds us to pay attention, and be honest about our experiences, how they affect us, and how they change us. We could remain unchanged, even with our sight restored…
But not the blind man: “All I know is that once I was blind, but now I can see.”
Being washed in the Sending waters also means facing opposition and even aggression calmly. Did you see how he did that. He just stuck to his truth calmly, even while the inevitable opposition came on strong. This breaks with the way it’s “supposed to be,” you see. The blind man stays calm —and we see — faithful. He’s not swayed by the fire and fury, the violence of the opposition.
(This is kind of a footnote but it’s also instructive: Being washed in the Sending Pool also means staying out of triangles. Triangulation. Heard of that? “Go ask him. Let him speak for himself…”)
Finally, being washed in Sent means worshipping Jesus...even while others don’t believe or “see”. Vs. 38: “He said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped him.”
On this Transfiguration Sunday we too fall down and worship Jesus. We entrust ourselves to Christ’s mud touch and care and transformative healing again. We give thanks for all that God has done for us — we show that thanksgiving in our tithing and our offerings, and our songs of praise. Worship means worthy. What is worthy of our sacrifice? That’s the true object of our worship. People make sacrifices and put their trust — i.e. people worship — all kinds of things. The blind man worships Jesus…who loves us, whether we fall down, worship and recognize him or not.
Whether we see it or not. (Sing with children, “Jesus loves me when I’m good...Jesus loves me when I’m bad…”)
But friends, that gift of new vision is ours this day. This pool is right over there…We are bathed in those ever-flowing waters of the “Sending”. And in that, is the peace that passes all human understanding.
That peace is ours this day, and always, in Jesus’ name. Amen.