Here’s mud in your eye!
“Friend, I raise my glass and say, ‘Here’s mud in your eye!” What a strange thing to say as a toast. I confess I’ve only heard that in some movie, never in real life. But apparently it was, and may still be, a common toast, probably in England (they have a lot of sayings that sound rather odd). My understanding is that it is an anachronistic way of wishing someone a good journey. The mud is what is splattered from the horse onto your face as you travel on your way. So essentially the toast is “Godspeed.”
But there is an extraordinary story in John 9 about a man who literally did have mud in his eye, and it was the greatest thing that ever happened to him. In fact, it resulted in completely changing the direction of his life.
As the story goes in John 9, Jesus came across a man born blind and after explaining the situation to his disciples, bent down in front of the man, took some dirt, spit on it to make mud, and then applied the mud to the man’s eyes. Jesus then told him to go wash it off in the pool of Siloam. The man did what Jesus told him to do and was granted the miracle of being able to see. What a time of rejoicing! What a time to sing Hallelujah! This man, born blind, can now see! What a testimony as to who Jesus is! Right? Well, not so with the Jewish leaders.
They were more concerned with “how” the man was made to see. When they interrogated the healed man, they found out several things: 1. The mud was made on the Sabbath. Making mud requires kneading, a work activity strictly forbidden on the Sabbath. 2. Applying the mud requires work, again a forbidden activity. 3. The mud was made with spit, which was classified as excrement and therefore was culturally and ceremonially unclean. 4. Healing was prohibited on the Sabbath. They grilled the healed man to the point of exasperation. Of course, he was incredulous and testified in John 9:25 “…One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
So, why did Jesus heal the man this way? A woman once just touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was healed. He healed a leper by touching him. He raised Lazarus from the dead by calling him forth from the grave. So why make mud? There are many reasons, but a prominent one was to show how blind the Jewish leaders really were and contrast their darkness with the true light of the world, Jesus the Messiah. Sadly, in their darkened state they completely missed the miraculous work that had occurred in this man’s life and heart. As shepherds of God’s flock, they failed miserably. They knew the scriptures and the law, but clearly did not know or even want to know the one sent by God. The law had become an end in itself. In John 5:39 Jesus told them plainly, “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” It seems that he used the whole situation in John 9 to reiterate how badly the Jewish leaders had missed the true meaning of the Scriptures.
Brothers and Sisters, Jesus is our light, our life, and our all in all. We were all born blind. In his mercy he applied mud to the eyes of our hearts and washed it clean with his blood. As a child of God, you too can proclaim, “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” This is our testimony to the world!
So, “Here’s mud in your eye”—may you see Jesus clearly, and Godspeed as you travel the road of life and proclaim to all the good news of Jesus.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes to the light of the gospel. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear that I may always live for you and glorify your name in all that I do and say as you lead me along the road of life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.