When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
Jesus would not try weak faith too sternly. Just as you would not give a little child the moral law in all its baldness and harshness to keep, but first sweeten the way of obedience by little rewards and promises which become helps to the doing of right, so the kindly Healer of all deals with the people, who were as little children in faith and spiritual insight. He knew a medicinal value was attributed to saliva for diseases of the eye. It was a little harmless giving way to superstition to let the man have the help of his old belief, such as it was. If you could heal a child's hurt by the magic of a word, the child would not feel half as cured as if you had applied some salve. Jesus applies harmless salve that the man might be helped to believe by having something external done to him. Your straitlaced dogmatists will never see the kindly spirit of such action as this. They would see the man blind all his days before they would "pander" to such notions. Theirs are the unkindly hands which try to make the child climb to heaven by, first of all knocking down the ladders of childish fancy which its untaught thinking has reared, instead of fixing their ladder to the end of the child's. Jesus is more kindly reasonable. He does not attempt to argue the notion out of the man's mind. He simply lets it alone, and helps the man through his grandmotherly beliefs to healing, and finally to a strong faith in the Divine power. If my child believed that the Heavenly Father came down to the park every night to wrap up the birds in their nests I would not destroy that idea of Providence till I could graft a richer one upon it. Let us learn the Christlike lesson of being weak to the weak and ignorant to the ignorant.
(E. H. Higgins.)
Parallel VersesKJV: When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,