AFTER he had brought the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage into the promised land, recognizing that without purity his people could not progress, Moses gave them laws of purification such as they could understand and practice. The spiritual significance of purification was kept aglow by the prophets, but to the Jews of Jesus' time this light had become almost extinct. To them, purification meant little more than the observance of certain rites and ceremonies.
Christ Jesus, through his God-given spiritual insight, gave the true meaning of purity in a brief sentence: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." He knew that words alone are inadequate to save mankind from sin, sickness, and death, and that these evils are to be corrected in individual thinking; hence his admonition, "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." In his continuous effort to show to the scribes, Pharisees, and priests the wide gulf existing between matter and Spirit, as well as the eternal unity of God and the spiritual, real man, he desired to prove to all that more than mere observance of the letter is requisite for purification.
We read in the Gospel of John that in restoring the sight of the one born blind Jesus used clay and spittle, ordering the patient to wash himself clean of these. Any theory promulgated by those who give great importance to the letter, and miss the spiritual meaning, that in order to effect the healing Jesus needed material auxiliaries to his prayer, is inconsistent and contradictory. It is inconceivable that he who through the application of spiritual law saved the sinning, healed the sick, fed the hungry multitudes, stilled the tempest, and raised the dead, should need the assistance of clay and spittle to aid his understanding of the law of God and its operation! Jesus had come to heal all—to heal even the spiritually blind of their blindness. In order to illustrate the utter nothingness and powerlessness of matter and material means and methods, he could have used spittle only as a sign of Jewish contempt. In doing this he taught a great lesson in purification. Did not the Master command the man born blind to go and wash; and did not this washing signify purification from all that is material—of all that is unlike God, good?