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OPINION

A Quick Bible Study, Vol. 147: Archeology Affirms Place Where Jesus Restored Sight to Blind Man

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

Author's Note: All previous volumes of this series are here. The first 56 volumes are compiled into the book "Bible Study For Those Who Don't Read The Bible." Now, "Part Two," featuring volumes 57-113, is available for sale.

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Event Alert: My friend, Rabbi Aaron Allsbrook, is hosting a Messianic Jewish Passover Seder on April 6 at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. The keynote speaker is Dr. Michael Brown – well known to Townhall readers. Buy tickets early! 

Today’s study was sparked by a Fox News report headlined: “Biblical site where Jesus healed blind man excavated for public view: 'Affirms Scripture.' ” The “affirmed” Scripture is Chapter 9 of John’s gospel. The “biblical site” is Jerusalem’s Pool of Siloam

I am thrilled whenever a biblical archeological discovery is reported by the secular news. Here are four reasons why people with faith in Almighty God should celebrate such reports. 

First, “affirming” physical evidence makes the Word of God less of a “fairy tale” — a phrase used by my deceased atheist sister, to describe the Bible. (God rest her soul.) 

Second, excavations can spark biblical interest among academics or anyone who enjoys ancient history — even those without faith who would never pick up a Bible. 

Third, a repeat from Vol. 126: “What the Bible Says about Burnt Offerings” — relevant to today’s study passage:

“Decades ago, I heard a mega-church pastor say, ‘Archaeology has never disproved the Bible,’ and it resonated with me. Then, researching this study [Vol. 126], I found two confirming articles. First from Smithsonian Magazine: ‘An Archaeological Dig Reignites the Debate Over the Old Testament’s Historical Accuracy’ — and a quote grabbed my attention: 

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“ ‘This trend of archaeology corroborating Biblical accounts continued so consistently that in 1959 Rabbi Dr. Nelson Glueck declared ‘no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.’ Since then, the evidence has kept coming.

“The second article is from Newsweek (of all places), by celebrated writer Eric Metaxas titled, ‘Is Archaeology Proving the Bible?’ Metaxas wrote: ‘Archaeology has been pointing to the accuracy of the Hebrew scriptures for 170 years.’ ”

Fourth, as technology advances, expect new techniques to yield more discoveries confirming the Bible. (Maybe even the “Ark of the Covenant,” but without Harrison Ford.) 

And, on a personal note, this past summer in Jerusalem, my husband and I visited the Pool of Siloam, thus more excavations are welcome news.

Now, let's take a quick dip into the Pool of Siloam and discuss the key takeaways from John: 9 — a miraculous two-part story. First, “Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind,” the subhead for verses 1-12. The second subhead for verses 13 - 41 is “The Pharisees Investigate the Healing.”

Here is a synopsis mixed with quotes from John 9.

Jesus in Jerusalem saw “a man blind from birth.” His disciples ask, “ ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ” Jesus answered “ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’ ” 

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 Jesus continued with a familiar theme — “light.” (See Vol. 49.) He says, “ ‘While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ ” Then Jesus spits into the dirt to make mud and places the mud on the blind man’s eyes:

 “ ‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.” Note: Scripture explains that Siloam means “Sent,” which could be interpreted — Jesus was “sent” to be the light of the world. And believers know that is true!

Then the formerly blind man’s gossipy neighbors ask:

 “ ‘Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?’ ” But, “Others said, ‘No, he only looks like him.’ But he insisted, “ ‘I am the man.’ ‘How then were your eyes opened?’ they asked.” He replied, “ ‘The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.’ ” End of Part 1.

Part 2: The Pharisees receive a Townhall News Alert to investigate the miracle.

Controversy ensues, and the blind man is brought before the Pharisees, who discover, “..the day Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.” So they ask the formerly blind man how he got his sight. The man tells the story, but the Pharisees focus on the Sabbath healing, NOT the healing itself, saying:

 “ ‘This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.’ But others asked, ‘How can a sinner perform such signs?’ So they were divided.” The Pharisees asked the formerly blind man about the man who healed him, who said: “He is a prophet.”

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The infuriated Pharisees bring in the man’s parents, asking: 

“ ‘Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?’ ” His parents confirm blind from birth and say, “..who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.’ ” The parents “were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.”

An argument ensues about Jesus being a sinner, but the formerly blind man famously says:

 “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (From where the cliché originated.)

The formerly blind man asks the Pharisees, “ ‘Do you want to become his disciples too?’ ” They yell, “ ‘You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses!’ ” 

The sight-enhanced man confronts the Pharisees saying, “ ‘ We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’ ”

The Pharisees scream, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.”

The healing at the Pool of Siloam is about spiritual blindness. Near the end, Jesus said: 

“ ‘For judgment, I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.’ ” 

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Today, blindness remains, along with anger toward the one who was “sent” to give us light. If your eyes are blind to Jesus, ask Him to open them this year. Amen to that!

Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her book, "Bible Study For Those Who Don't Read The Bible,” reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. “Part 2,” with the same title, reprints Vols. 57-113. Order it here.  

Myra is also the Executive Director of SignFromGod.org and the National Shroud of Turin Exhibit, two ministries dedicated to Shroud of Turin education. Contact: Twitter @MyraKAdams and MyraAdams01@gmail.com.


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