A man blind from birth sits, alone but for surveilling law and its bitter executors. The Rabbi passes by, sent for a work, sent to this man, to mix mud from spit and earth, to coat eyes with matter, to sink vision in soil, to send another, to be sent, again.
“‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam,’” the Rabbi says. Wash in the pool that means Sent.
The blind man goes, returns with vision and with it a chthonic world, a subterranean world, a world from outside and under, beyond the walls of the holy city, a world brought within, drawn up from the pool, a world drawn from being sent.
“‘Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some were saying, ‘It is he.’ Others were saying, ‘No, but it is someone like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the man.’ But they kept asking him, ‘Then how were your eyes opened?’”
Being-sent: a vision of and through the body, transformed by the body (its contingency, its situation), a vision guided by mercy, a vision that does not seek to render bare with blinding light, but to touch and hold and clothe.
“‘Surely we are not blind?’” the executors ask. “‘If you were blind,’” the Rabbi replies, “‘you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see,” your sin remains.’”
Vision inverted—blindness sight and sight blindness. Baptism of earth and depth, the surface torqued in baroque and möbius folds.
“‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?’ And they drove him out,” the one who was blind, the one with mud-streaked face, the one already on the way—sent, and so, driven down and out into the world as if risen into another.
Unfathomable, impossible assent, to be given to the multiple, to consent to this rhizomatic tabernacle, the communion of the saints.1
See Gospel of John, ch. 9, NRSV. ↩