John's Gospel

The Way It Happened

John 9:7, The Pool of Siloam

“Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

//This verse contains a funny little explanation, reminding us that the word Siloam means “sent.” Indeed, Siloam is a transliteration of the Hebrew word Shiloah, meaning “send.” Why do you suppose is this important enough for John to mention?

Most readers relate the word “sent” to the command of Jesus: “Go.” But I learned something interesting, reading David Audlin’s translation and commentary on the Gospel of John. The name may have been coined because it sent forth the water that entered Jerusalem through a tunnel constructed by Hezekiah.

With that definition of Siloam in mind—the location that healing water is sent from, not where the man in today’s verse is sent to—let’s discuss the setting of Jesus’ miracle. Jesus had just been expounding to his disciples about how he is the light of the world. In several other places in John’s Gospel, we find Jesus compared to living water. So, we should not be surprised to find this verse tucked away in the book of Isaiah about “gently flowing” living waters—a picture of Jesus:

“Because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the River—the king of Assyria with all his pomp. –Isaiah 8:6-7

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