Synaxarion for the Sunday of the Blind Man.
On this day, the sixth Sunday of Pascha, we celebrate the miracle which our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ performed for the man who had been blind from birth.
This miracle, like those of the Samaritan woman and the paralytic, was brought about through the use of water in this way: As Christ was speaking with the Jews and showing them that He is together with the Father, existing before Abraham, they sought to stone Him. He then left that place where He had been speaking with them and met a blind man who was wandering about and who had been blind from birth, having only the shape and form of eyes. When the Savior saw him, His Disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). The reason they asked this is because they had heard Him telling the paralytic at the Sheep's Pool, “Behold, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you” (John 5:14), as if to say that “the sins of the parents are visited upon the children...”
At that time the opinion of certain Epicurean philosophers was very prevalent, saying that the soul had pre-existence and that any sins committed in this pre-existent state then descended in an immaterial manner into the body. But Christ, rejecting such a belief, said, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him” (John 9:3).
Having said this, Christ then spat on the ground and made clay with which He anointed the eyes of the blind man, and then He commanded him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. By doing this, Christ showed that He is the very One Who, from the beginning, took clay from the earth and formed man; and, as the eye is the most important of all the various parts of the body, He fashions what did not exist in this man, giving proof that He is the very One Who gives power to the movement of the soul.
The Lord did not anoint the blind man with simple water but with spittle; this was done to show that all grace comes from the mouth of the One who spat, and secondly, in order to send him to wash in the waters of Siloam. Christ sent the blind man to wash so that he would not attribute the healing to the soil or clay; He sent him to Siloam in order that there be many witnesses of this cure, for the man met many people as he went to Siloam with his eyes anointed with clay. Also, he was sent there so that his faith and obedience might be made known to all. Some say that when he washed at Siloam, the clay made from the spittle did not wash off, but rather that when the water touched it, it changed into the actual seeing power of eyes.
Siloam means “sent,” because this water was found outside the walls of Jerusalem. During the time of Hezakiah the prophet, when the enemies surrounded the city of Jerusalem and captured Siloam, the waters withdrew from that place. Before that time those from inside the city had dug the well and cistern that collected the waters, whenever someone was sent there by the command of Isaiah the Prophet, water would appear on the surface of the ground in such abundance that it would be possible to actually draw water. But if someone else, even those among the enemies, would try to draw from this water, the flow of the water would stop. This also took place through the power of St. Isaiah.
Christ, in order to show all that He is God, sent the blind man to Siloam where he immediately received sight in his eyes. Some offer the explanation that the name of Siloam, meaning “sent,” was given to that place because this blind man was sent there by Christ.
The blind man washed in the pool and immediately received his sight through an indescribable power which remained hidden even to him who experienced the results of this wonder. But his neighbors and those who knew him, realizing that he could truly see, still were doubtful. The man born blind told them that it really was he who had formerly been blind, but the people then asked him who it was that had given him sight, to which he answered very loudly and firmly that Christ had healed his suffering. Hearing this wondrous miracle, the Pharisees again took up their accusations against the Savior, saying that He did not observe the Sabbath, for it appears that this miracle was done on the Sabbath day. A dispute then arose from within their own party, for some, realizing the magnitude of the miracle that had been worked, said that Jesus is from God, while others held that since Jesus did not observe the Sabbath, He could not be from God.
Those whose opinion was against Christ asked the blind man, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” (John 9:17), and the man born blind loudly bore witness, saying that He was a prophet, which is something deserving great honor among the Jews. Some, however, would not believe that Christ had healed a man who was blind. They sent for the parents of the man, perhaps because they did not wish to give credence to the man himself or to the neighbors, but their wish to cover the miracle which had been wrought only led to emphasize it even more; the man’s parents admitted everything, even though, afraid of being cast out of the synagogue, they told the questioners to ask their son directly regarding the matter, for he was of age and able to respond. These again said to the man bom blind, “Give God the glory! We know this Man is a sinner” (John 9:24). The man born blind, still wanting to show proof through this miracle that Jesus is God, said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25).
They said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” (John 9:26). Upset by now at being questioned so much, the man did not explain in detail but briefly, saying that if He had not been God He would not have been able to work such a miracle. They then reviled him, accusing him of now being a disciple of Christ, saying that no one had ever opened the eyes of one blind from birth; even though other blind nien had gained their sight, none who had been blind from birth had ever received sight. Then, further reviling him, they cast him out of the synagogue. After this, the man met Jesus, Who said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”(John 9:35). The man bom blind realized who this was Who was speaking to him and that it was through Him that he had gained his sight (for at the time of the miracle, being blind, he had not seen Christ); then he worshiped Him and became a disciple, openly proclaiming the miracle which had taken place.
In your immeasurable mercy,
О Christ our God, Giver of Light,
have mercy on us and save us.
The Synaxarion of the Lenten Triodion and the Pentecostarion, ed. Fr David (Kidd) and Mother Gabriella (Ursache), Rives Junction, MI: HDM, 1999, pp. 207-211.