By Robert Halsey Pine
“He kept saying, ‘I am the man.’ But they kept asking him, ‘Then how were your eyes opened?’ He answered, ‘The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, “Go to Siloam and wash.” Then I went and washed and received my sight.’” (John 9:1-17 NRSV).
The historical significance of Valentine’s Day is not fully clear to historians. There are several stories about its origin. Some say that it is tied to pagan and heathen ritual. Others say that there was a St. Valentine that was a Christian martyr who fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. He wrote her a love note and signed it, “From your Valentine.” The kind of love that is communicated on Valentine’s Day may vary, but this day of sharing love seems to have stood the test of time.
Our Lord Jesus may have been the true originator of Valentine’s Day. In His ministry, Jesus went about delivering valentines every day. I’m sure that the blind beggar in today’s scripture reading felt that he had received a valentine from Jesus. Jesus was a light in the world for this man, yet many questioned His authority. He is a light for all of us. He opens all of our eyes to the love of His Father. We must also help Him restore the sight of His love to the blinded.
On a weekend several years ago, I participated with 50 Christian brothers and sisters in a two-and-a-half-day spiritual retreat with 42 HIV-positive inmates at one of our state prisons.
As I read today’s scripture from John’s Gospel, I began to see a parallel with our prison retreat. God gave us 42 of His blinded children for the weekend. As the retreat proceeded, we mixed His Word and his Love into mud in the proportions that He revealed to us.
At Christ’s cue, we spread His Holy mud onto the eyes of the inmates.
During the retreat many on the team were seen placing some of the mud on their own eyes. As with the blind beggar, Jesus provided a “Pool of Siloam” in which all might wash off the mud of Word and Love. The pool was fed by the springs of tears from the inmates and the team members. Our tears came together and washed away the mud and sight was received. Praise God for the tears of joy in Christ Jesus! We must strive to be someone’s spiritual valentine every day.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.