Jesus Heals the Blind Men

In John 9 Jesus uses His spit with some dirt to make mud, then rubbed it on a blind man’s eyes, abd when he washed it off he could see.

Then in mark 8 Jesus spits on a blind man’s eyes, then touches them with His hands, and then the man can see.

These always seemed strange to me, because, although there may be a time or two I’m forgetting, the vast majority of the time Jesus does His miracles just by speaking it. “rise, take up your bed, and walk” is all it took to heal a paralytic, and even less was required when he rose Lazarus and that other girl from the dead. So why do other steps need to be involved to restore sight? I know there are other times where Jesus restores people’s sight in the regular way, by speaking, but that just makes me wonder more, why the spit the other times?

It’s even more confusing to me that in mark, after Jesus spits on the mans eyes, he asks if he can see well, and he says he can only see shapes, so Jesus has to go in again and touch his eyes with his hands and then his vision is perfect. I know this isn’t true, but it almost seems like Jesus was having a hard time accomplishing the miracle. I don’t remember another time where Jesus attempted to do something and initially failed.

Is there some message here or symbolism I’m not getting?

It seems to me that there were two miracles in this instance, not one. The first was healing the eyes. The second was healing the malformed nerve pathways in the brain, which, without input from the eyes, had never had the chance to properly form.

Hm. I never thought about it that way.

But Jesus never had to do two steps with other blind men, even the one other who was specifically also blind from birth.

Plus it seems strange that in both these outlier miracles, they involve spit. I mean that’s supposed to be really disrespectful even back then right? Is the spit itself significant?

Jesus is not only :100: divine he is also :100: human. So it may be he is using the things of God’s Earth to perform a miracle.

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I don’t see how the fact that he did it in two steps means that he had to.

I don’t see the issue with the spit. He didn’t spit on the guy in contempt, he used spit as an ingredient in a poultice. Lots of strange stuff has been used in poultices over the years, including things like urine.

Maybe it had more to do with the weakness of faith that some [of us] have, as opposed to the stronger faith of the others? :wink:


With respect to Jesus touching people and using matter, such as spit or mud, to heal them, perhaps it was meant to foreshadow the Christian sacraments which use the laying on of hands and/or matter, such as water, oil, bread and water, to convey graces.

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St Jerome had the best interpretation IMO. By curing in stages, Jesus wants to show our gradual increase in wisdom, from the darkness of ignorance to the light of truth. Christ’s spittle is the perfect doctrine, proceeding from his own mouth, enhancing our vision and bringing us progressively to the knowledge of God.


I like that. You can always count on the Fathers

Ooh, cool concept!

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D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 24. Men [1] as trees walking. In the Latin text, walking may agree either with men, or with trees, but the Greek shews that walking must be referred to men. Perhaps Christ restored sight in this manner to the man by degrees, to make him more sensible of the benefit; or to teach us how difficult is a sinner’s conversion; of which this was a figure. (Witham)


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