And said unto him, go wash in the Pool of Siloam
A fountain of this name is called Siloah, ( Isaiah 8:6 ) , and according to the Jewish writers, sometimes Gihon F5; and this, they say F6, was without Jerusalem, though near unto it: hither the Jews went at the feast of tabernacles F7, and drew water with great rejoicing, and brought it, and poured it on the altar; the waters thereof also the priests drank for digestion, when they had eaten too much flesh F8; and this was likewise made use of to wash in, in case of uncleanness. It is said F9 of Benaiah, one of David's worthies, that
``one day he set his foot upon a dead toad, and he went down to Siloah, and broke the pieces of hail, (or ice congealed together,) and dipped himself.''This fountain was to the south west of Jerusalem; and was, as Josephus says, sweet and large F11; and from it were two watercourses, upper and lower, ( 2 Chronicles 32:30 ) , which ran into two pools; the one was called the Pool of Siloam, which may be the same that Josephus F12 calls the Pool of Solomon, and is here meant, and which was situated on the south of the wall of Sion, towards the east; and the other was called the Pool of Shelah, and which, in ( Nehemiah 3:15 ) , is called in our translation, and in some others, the Pool of Siloah. Now both the fountain, and the pool, were without the city; and yet we read of a Siloah in the midst of the city F13. This blind man was sent, not to wash himself all over, but only his face or eyes; and so the Arabic and Persic versions read, "wash thy face"; the clay from it: this may be emblematical of the grace of the Spirit, sometimes signified by water and washing, which accompanying the word, makes it effectual to the salvation of souls:
which is by interpretation sent.
This interpretation of the word Siloam does not determine which of the pools is meant, the upper or lower, "Siloah" or "Shelah", since they both come from the word (xlv) , which signifies to "send"; but by the flexion of the word, the upper pool "Siloah" seems plainly intended, which was not so forenamed, as Nonus suggests, from the sending this man thither, but rather from the sending forth its waters, which flowed softly and gently for the supply of the city of Jerusalem, Some think Christ gave this interpretation of it with a view to himself, as the sent of God, the true Messiah: but the words seem not to be the words of Christ, but of the evangelist, who interprets this word; wherefore they are left out in the Syriac and Persic versions, where such an interpretation was needless.
He went his way therefore and washed, and came seeing:
he did as he was commanded; he was obedient to the directions and orders of Christ, though they seemed so unlikely to answer the end; and yet that was brought about through the divine power of Christ, which appeared the more in making use of such unlikely means.
F5 Targum, Jarchi, Kimchi, & Solomon ben Melech in 1 Kings i. 39.
F6 Jarchi & Bartenora in Misn. Succa, c. 4. sect. 9.
F7 Misn. Succa, c. 4. sect. 9.
F8 Abot R. Nathan, c. 35. fol. 8. 3.
F9 Targum in 1 Chron. xi. 22.
F11 De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 4. sect. 1.
F12 Ib. l. 6. c. 6. vel. l. 5. c. 4. sect. 1.
F13 T. Hieros. Chagigah, fol. 76. 1.