“Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul.”
This is how Genesis 2:7 reads in our English translations. In the Hebrew, it looks like this (reading from right to left):
וייצר יהוה אלהים את־האדם עפר מן־האדמה ויפח באפיו נשמת חיים ויהי האדם לנפש חיה׃
Hebrew readers will notice something peculiar. The first word of the verse is misspelled! The first word is vaiyitzer (ויצר), meaning “to form” or “formed,” and it is supposed to be spelled with a single yod. Yod is the letter that resembles an apostrophe (י). Yod is the second letter of the word vaiyitzer: ויצר.
Yet in every Torah scroll in the world, the word is misspelled in Genesis 2:7, written with two yods instead of one. Elsewhere it is spelled with a single yod, but not here. Why is this? Why have the scribes so faithfully copied what seems to be a simple typo?
We have to be mindful that each letter in the Hebrew alphabet is a symbol. For example, the letter aleph symbolizes an ox; the letter beit symbolizes a house; the letter gimel represents a camel; the letter dalet represents a door. What does the letter yod represent? The letter yod represents a hand!
Here we find meaning. When God formed adam (man) from the adamah (clay), He used both of His hands to do it! That’s why there are two “hands” in the vaiyitzer of Genesis 2:7––because God formed man from the clay using both of His hands. (At least, that’s the picture we get in the Hebrew.)
If we jump forward to John 9, we find God reaching down and using both of His hands again. In John 9, Jesus spits on the ground and works His saliva into the mud. He then applies the mud to both eyes of a blind man. He tells the blind man to go wash in the Pool of Siloam (which means sent). Though the blind man cannot see Jesus, he listens to His voice and obeys the command. The blind man finds his way to the Pool of Siloam. There he baths, and his sight is restored. What just happened?
Writing this, John has to be thinking of Genesis 2. In Genesis 2, God formed man from the clay. Man’s creation was perfect, the highest design in the universe. But soon enough, man sinned, and sin marred his image. It caused a great deal of damage. So Jesus comes to correct that damage. What does Jesus do? He goes back to the way God made man to begin with––with clay. But this time He doesn’t have to start from scratch. All He has to do is make some new clay, apply as needed, and form a new creation of the eyes. Once again something from God’s mouth (breath in Genesis 2, saliva in John 9) combines with the clay of the earth to raise up a man.
Why did Jesus send the blind man to the Pool of Siloam? Why not somewhere else?
Well it is not accidental. This particular pool, the Pool of Siloam, has a rich history. It was already 700 years old when Jesus was alive. It had been built during the reign of King Hezekiah. It was meant to bring water inside the City so that, during a siege, Jerusalem could still access a safe water supply. The pool is fed by water from the Gihon Spring (which is outside the City Walls). From there, water is channeled into Jerusalem via an underground passage. And this is why the Pool of Siloam is called Siloam which means sent, because the water is “sent” into the City.
How they made this thing baffles the mind. In order to channel the water into the City, Hezekiah had to make a 583 yard long tunnel through the earth. He had his men work from opposite directions. One group started cutting into the rock on one end (from inside the wall) while a second group started cutting into the rock on the other end (from outside the wall). It’s an amazing feat of engineering that they met up in the middle!
In 1880, an ancient plaque was discovered inside the tunnel. Today the plague is kept in a museum, it being among the oldest extant records written in Hebrew using the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet. On the plague is an inscription that describes how the tunneling was completed. “The stone cutters wielded their picks, each crew toward the other, and while there was still 3 cubits to go, the voices of the men calling each other could be heard since there was an increase of sound on the right and the left. The day the breach was made, the stonecutters hacked toward each other, pick against pick, and the water flowed from the source to the pool, 1200 cubits.” (The Siloam Inscription)
Now there are a lot of places where this blind man could have washed the mud off. But Jesus said I want you to go to this pool. The pool that was created when Hezekiah was king. The pool that was created by two groups tunneling through rock toward each other. The pool that means sent. This is where I want you to go.
It’s a picture. Jesus is working toward you. He says in essence, “If you draw near to me, I will draw near to you. You want the living water. You want life. You want back in the Garden. Well I’m working toward you, tunneling out from the Garden. You need to work toward me, tunneling in toward the Garden. You might be operating in darkness. But you can hear. You can hear Me working toward you. I am sent for you; you are sent by Me. Keep faith, and you will soon to see as you ought to see.”