Thursday, July 29, 2004

Location Reversal

Here's an observation from John to explore. In my study we've spent two weeks now looking at ways that chapter five (the lame man healed at the Sheep Pool) and chapter nine (blind man healed at the Temple) correspond and contrast. Here's one for further reflection.

The locations involved in the two stories are opposed as the plot unfolds. The lame man is found outside the city to the north by Jesus, healed, and then encountered again inside the Temple. The blind man is found near the Temple (Jesus is on his way out from nearly being stoned), healed, and then encountered again somewhere near the Pool of Siloam, almost outside the city to the south.

A couple of interpretations present themselves. First, we must remember that the blind man conducts himself with faith in the Christ as the Pharisees interrogate him. He is rewarded by Jesus in hearing who the Christ is and believing. The lame man doesn't have much faith at all and is warned by Jesus to "stop sinning or something worse will happen to you." Remembering this, it becomes evident that the miracles of Christ combining with faith move you closer to the Living Water, while scorning His works through disbelief will remove you from it. It was the blind man who got into the pool through faith and the hearing and obeying of Jesus' word.

And the converse has implications too. Jesus is taking His disciples out of the Temple, for it will soon be destroyed. The old covenant is perishing because of the disbelief of its members. The lame man winds up in the Temple, suitable for destruction because of his disbelief. The blind man is thrown out, but that is a blessing because the Temple is not long for the world.

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