The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.
Imagine you are teaching a Kindergarten class and it’s story time. You call your class to the special reading area to enjoy a colorful picture book. If this is your first week on the job, you have a hard time concentrating on reading the story to your class because each time you look up you are deeply disturbed. Little Sally is vigorously picking her nose as if she’s getting paid for it, little Johnny is licking his hand and little Sue just picked something off the carpet and put it in her mouth.
You try desperately to refocus and point out an eye-catching illustration in hopes of distracting these students from contracting a disease. Wincingly, you glance back at the class to see Sally eat her…gross! For a veteran teacher, it’s just another day on the job. Swapping germs comes with the territory and Kindergarten teachers move in closer anyway. No hazmat suit needed, they just get close, germs and all.
If you are a germaphobe, you have stopped reading already. I wish I could say it gets better, but scripture has something much more germy to offer in today’s text. In John chapter nine a man who was blind from birth is completely healed. Jesus spit on the ground, made some mud with his saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes (verse 6). After this man received his sight, he was asked three different times, “HOW were your eyes opened?”. Like us, the people in this man’s town were like, “Jesus did what?”.
Children have no concept whatsoever of social distancing. They are not deterred by runny noses, tears, coughs or sneezes. As adults, we have been conditioned to keep our distance. Perhaps we have been hurt or someone’s affliction rubbed off on us causing us to think twice before getting too close again. There are dozens of reasons for us to separate ourselves from others. Sometimes we do it intentionally and sometimes unintentionally.
Jesus intentionally used his spit and his touch to make a blind man see. The religious Pharisees had a big problem with this. They even kicked the man out of the temple over this healing. Excommunicated because they preferred a more distant, tidy and legalistic way of worshipping God. I mean spit? That is way too invasive. The Pharisees failed to see a miracle and focused instead on the mess and the belief that the Sabbath had been violated.
“One thing I do know. I was blind, but now I see!” the blind man exclaimed in John 9:25. Jesus came to teach us that no more will there be distance between God and man. He is a relational God who is not deterred by your mess. He will move in as close as you will let him. In our relationships with people, we will do well to remember the story of the blind man. It teaches us to move in. As those who imitate Christ, we want others germs on us. It shows we have held a hand in prayer, we have had our shoulder cried on and we have cradled someone’s face in our hands.
“Come to me as a little child” the bible says. We can learn a lot from that little Kindergarten class. They don’t let their mess get in the way of their relationships. Spiritual germaphobes miss what God has in store for them through the relationships that He wants to bless. And for those literal germaphobes, who pushed your way through to the end of this article, I leave you with some relief.
After Jesus rubbed the blind man’s eyes with mud, he told him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. This relational Jesus we serve knows that when we move in close with others, the way he intends, things will get messy. Jesus is always there to wash us clean. He may take you through a mess, but he won’t leave you there. “…wash me and I will be whiter than snow” Psalm 51:7
By: Nadolyn Lee
Nadolyn has served in church ministry in the areas of music, children and youth for over thirty years. She is creator of ‘Dirt Road Believer’ YouTube channel where she produces Christian devotions every Tuesday and Thursday. Her home is in Summerville, GA with her husband and four children.