Verses 2-5: How could the disciples believe that the man’s sins could be responsible for his blindness since he was born blind? What do you make of the fact that over and over again we see Jesus ignoring general, hypothetical, and legal questions such as the question that the disciples ask? (See also, e.g., Luke 10:25ff. and John 8:3ff.) What does he deal with instead? How does Jesus explain the man’s blindness? Does he say that is a complete explanation? As you read the rest of this story, ask yourself what works of God are made manifest through this healing. What might might Jesus be speaking of in verse 4? Light is that by which we see things and which makes it possible for us to do our work. Is Jesus the light by which we see the world? What would it mean for that to be true? Given the symbolism of verse 4-5, what can we conclude will be the case if we do not see the world by his light?
Verses 6-7: Do you see any symbolic meaning in the spit and the clay with which Jesus anoints the man’s eyes? The Siloam pool (also translated as “the waters of Shiloah” in Isaiah 8:6) was the pool from which the water for the Feast of the Tabernacles was drawn and that Jesus seems to have used symbolically in his sermon at that feast. (See John 7:37-38.) Why does John stop to tell us that the name “Siloam” means “sent” (which is perhaps inaccurate)? Does the name have anything to do with the story? Is the comparison to Elijah sending Namaan to wash in the river Jordan (2 Kings 5) intentional?