7.Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. Unquestionably, there was not, either in the clay, or in the water of Siloam, any power or fitness for curing the eyes; but Christ freely made use of those outward symbols, on various occasions, for adorning his miracles, either to accustom believers to the use of signs, or to show that all things were at his disposal, or to testify that every one of the creatures has as much power as he chooses to give them. But some inquire what is meant bythe clay composed of dust and spittle, and they explain it to have been a figure of Christ, because the dust denotes the earthly nature of the flesh, andthe spittle, which came from his mouth, denotes the Divine essence of the Word. For my part, I lay aside this allegory as being more ingenious than solid, and am satisfied with this simple view, that as man was at first made of clay, so in restoring the eyes Christ made use of clay, showing that he had the same power over a part of the body which the Father had displayed in forming the whole man. Or, perhaps, he intended to declare, by this sign, that it was not more difficult for him to remove the obstruction, and to open the eyes of the blind man, than to wash away clay from any man whatever; and, on the other hand, that it was as much in his power to restore sight to the man as it was to anoint his eyes with clay I prefer the latter interpretation.
As to the pool of Siloam, he perhaps orderedthe blind man to wash in it, in order to reprove the Jews for not being able to discern the power of God when present; as Isaiah reproaches the men of his time, that they
despise the waters of Siloam, which flow softly,
and prefer rapid and impetuous streams. This was also the reason, I think, why Elisha ordered Naaman the Syrian to go and wash in Jordan, (2Kg_5:10.) This pool, if we may believe Jerome, was formed by waters which flowed at certain hours from Mount Zion.
Which, if you interpret it, means Sent. The Evangelist purposely adds the interpretation of the word Siloam; because that fountain, which was near the temple, daily reminded the Jews of Christ who was to come, but whom they despised when he was exhibited before them. The Evangelist, therefore, magnifies the grace of Christ, because he alone enlightens our darkness, and restores sight to the blind. For the condition of our nature is delineated in the person of one man, that we are all destitute of light and understanding from the womb, and that we ought to seek the cure of this evil from Christ alone.
Let it be observed that, though Christ was present then, yet he did not wish to neglect signs; and that for the sake of reproving the stupidity of the nation, which laid aside the substance, and retained only an empty shadow of signs. Besides, the astonishing goodness of God is displayed in this respect, that he comes of his own accord to cure the blind man, and does not wait for his prayers to bestow help. And, indeed, since we are by nature averse to him, if he do not meet us before we call on him, and anticipate by his mercy us who are plunged in the forgetfulness of light and life, we are ruined.