Why did Jesus spit when healing certain people?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Strangely, the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures thrice mentioned the Lord Jesus Christ spitting in conjunction with performing healing miracles. What is the significance?


“[31] And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. [32] And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. [33] And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; [34] And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. [35] And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.”

Listening to these verses, we understand this poor man was both unable to hear and speak properly. However, the Lord Jesus healed him… in a most bizarre way. He spit on His finger and then touched the man’s tongue! While we find that rather disgusting, that was the way Jesus chose to cure him. Why? If we come to appreciate more about saliva, we can get a better understanding of Jesus’ procedure. Approximately 99 percent of saliva is simply water. (The other one percent is made of various enzymes and proteins that aid in tasting and digesting food, and protecting from tooth decay.) The man’s tongue is functionally dead. In Scripture, water symbolizes life (see Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:1,17). Thus, one way to look at the Lord’s behavior here is Him imparting water/life to the man’s tongue.

Moreover, saliva lubricates our tongue and lips to facilitate our speech. We can also see Christ as moistening the man’s mouth, making it easier for him to talk for the first time in who knows how long! What is being demonstrated here? Israel, now converted from Satan, can speak forth God’s Word to evangelize the Gentiles in the Millennial Kingdom (see Zechariah 8:20-23, for example).


“[22] And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. [23] And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. [24] And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. [25] After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.”

As we can see, Christ again employed spitting as a method of healing. This time, He ministers to a man who was blind. (Regarding the “double healing” here, see our related article linked at the end of this study.) Why did He spit on the man’s eyes? Recall our earlier comments as touching the miracle in chapter 7. These eyes are functionally dead. If they are to work as the Creator intended, He must intervene by imparting life and lubrication (saliva) to them. He does just that, thereby showing Israel how He can restore them to see spiritual truths clearly (for instance, see Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 29:18; and Isaiah 42:6-7,16).


“[1] And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. [2] And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? [3] Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. [4] I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. [5] As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. [6] When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, [7] And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”

The Lord Jesus cured this blind man by first spitting on the ground, mixing His saliva with the clay/soil, and then placing this concoction directly onto the man’s eyes. Finally, He sent the man to wash in the pool of Siloam. The man returned with his sight! What we want to see here is Jesus’ spit (life) was again instrumental in restoring organs that were functionally dead. The washing with water rinsed away the dirt and spit. You can see verses 10-15 for additional information. Israel is granted spiritual sight, free from the blindness of sin and Satan!


As the Lord Jesus Christ was compassionate toward these disabled men, so He is merciful even now toward the entire world. Billions of souls are still spiritually blind, deaf, and speech-inhibited. Deceived by the evil world system, they cannot see, hear, or speak the simple Gospel of the Grace of God. Yet, we can and will! “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Just like the Lord imparted physical health to the disabled, so He offers to graciously provide us with spiritual health. On Calvary’s cruel cross, He took upon Himself the penalty for our sins. He suffered as our substitute, that we not pay for our sins forever in Hell and the Lake of Fire. “For he [God the Father] hath made him [God the Son] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Romans 3:19-28: “[19] Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. [20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. [21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; [22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

Romans 4:1-5: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

Acts 16:30-31: “[30] And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? [31] And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Here is how we have the spit (life) of Christ applied to our account!

NOTE: Saints, this is Bible Q&A #795, our final article of 2020. We have now closed seven complete years of “For What Saith the Scriptures?” Lord willing, we will be back next year with another round of 100-plus studies! See you then! 🙂

Also see:
» Why did Christ need to heal the man in Mark 8 twice?
» If only I saw a miracle…?
» Why did Jesus offer Himself to Israel if He knew they would reject Him?