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Reimar A. C. Schultze

And He said to him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam... So he went and washed, and came back seeing (John 9:6–7).

Oh, how we loathe instructions. Have you ever bought a bicycle in a large, flat box with a label on it: Instructions for Assembly Inside? You open the box and dump out the contents, and there, instead of a bicycle, you have dozens of parts and plastic bags containing all kinds of hardware, and your heart sinks into your shoes. Then you look at the instruction book, and you say to yourself, “This is too demanding, too time-consuming, too strenuous, too difficult to figure out,” and you decide to assemble the bicycle without the instructions. After all, you know what a bicycle is supposed to look like when it is finished.

After hours of hard, discouraging labor, you give up in despair—and you call for your wife to help you. She then patiently goes through the instructions and hands you piece by piece and a miracle is born and soon you pedal down the road with the breeze blowing through your hair. Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.

Oh, how we want miracles without following instructions, without fulfilling our obligations to make the miracles come true. How many patients does the doctor see each year, who want a miracle of healing without following the instructions for good health? How many people have refused to listen to a financial advisor only to end up in bankruptcy later on? How many parents have not heeded the book of Proverbs on child-rearing and thus never see the miracle of a God-fearing teenager? Throughout the centuries, how many times have men of God given instructions to their followers, but the people rejected the instructions and soon came to spiritual barrenness? Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. Are we going to do it or not?

The man who was sent to the pool of Siloam was born blind. When he was brought to Jesus, he and those around him expected an instant miracle. They knew of Jesus’ healing power, for His fame had spread throughout the whole country (Matt. 4:24; 9:26-31). Yet, instead of Jesus saying, “Be healed, be made whole,” He spat on the ground, formed a bit of clay and anointed the eyes of the blind man. Nothing happened—nothing! Does this sound familiar: prayers not being answered? Without saying a prayer, Jesus simply gave the man instructions (my expanded version): “Don’t take the clay off your eyes. Go all the way to the pool of Siloam and wash it off there. No other pool will do, nor will water from a bucket suffice. Do exactly what I tell you to do.” But notice that the pool of Siloam was a difficult walk to the lowest point in Jerusalem where all who came to Jerusalem for their annual pilgrimage would first wash themselves before they went to the temple. Jesus told the blind man who never saw a step, nor water, nor anything to descend at least 34 rock hewn stair steps to: Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. Praise God, the blind man fumbled his way all the way down to the pool, washed and came back up seeing for the first time in his life. Have you gone to your pool and then came back seeing? And he was healed not because Jesus prayed for him, but because he followed instructions, difficult and humiliating instructions, detailed instructions.

If you follow Jesus’ instructions exactly, you have every reason to expect a miracle. Your miracle is guaranteed because God takes care of those who obey Him. Are you following Jesus’ instructions? Are you witnessing for Jesus? Are you giving generously of your finances to the work of God? Are you faithful to pray? Are you looking after the poor and needy? Are you living a holy life? Are you keeping the Ten Commandments? Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. Are you harboring resentment, bitterness or anger in your heart? Get it into your heart that obedience is the breeding ground for miracles. Disobedience hinders God’s miracle working power. Now let us review the basics to get the big picture.

Following Instructions First Leads to the Miracle of Conversion.

To transform a man full of sin into a man full of God takes a miracle. But it will not happen to you as a sinner if you do not follow the instructions leading to new life. Many sinners are often told: “All you have to do is believe in the Lord Jesus.” These are incomplete instructions and will not allow the miracle of conversion to happen in your life. First of all, nowhere in the Bible does it ever say: “All you have to do is...” this or that. The Bible tells you to repent and confess your sins. Repenting without believing is fruitless, and so also is believing without repenting. Jesus said: ...Repent, and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15).

To repent means to sorrow over your sins; to confess your sins; to forsake all sinful habits (the sinful lifestyle); and to accept the life of the Lord Jesus through the rebirth (John 3:7; Rev. 3:20). Around the year 2005, about 92% of Americans believed they would go to heaven because they were told that all they had to do was believe. However, if you have not repented and turned from your wicked ways, you cannot be born again. If you want to be born of God, you must confess your sins, repent and receive Jesus into your life as Lord. Whenever you follow these instructions, you will receive the miracle of new life. Hallelujah!

Following Instructions Gets You Started with the Miracle of Walking with God.

After you experience the rebirth, you are invited to walk with God, to experience His miracle-working power perpetually. The miracle of conversion is a moment in time, but walking with God is experiencing a lifetime in the supernatural. It is a lifestyle of its own. You walk with God by following Jesus. Jesus said to His disciples, “Follow me” (Matt. 9:9; 16:24; John 1:43). You receive salvation when you are born again, but you keep it through walking with God, through doing His will (Matt. 7:21).

Following Instructions Leads to Miracles of Healing.

Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. Consider Naaman the Syrian who had leprosy. The prophet Elisha told him, Go and wash in the [muddy] Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean (2 Kings 5:10). Often God speaks through His anointed ones. Oh, they may be as frail as you, but nonetheless, they are anointed. Listen to them. We all know the reason this miracle occurred is not because of the Jordan, but because Naaman the Syrian listened to a little maid and obeyed the man of God: Go and wash in the Jordan seven times. Again, the miracle came to a man who was willing to do that which was humiliating and breaking up his schedule real good. Oh, how much is there in following the Lord’s commandments?

Following Instructions Brings Miracles of Provision.

Elisha also told a widow who was about to lose her sons to slavery to borrow as many empty vessels as she possibly could. She was to take these vessels into her house, close the door and start pouring from her single jar of oil into all of the empty vessels (2 Kings 4:1–7). The woman followed the instructions, and all the vessels were filled. She sold the oil as Elisha commanded her—and kept her sons and her livelihood was paid for. By the way, also notice that in most all cases, the instructions given preceding the miracles are irrational, defying natural law. But whether you have bread on your table and enough to spare depends not only on your obedience to God, but also on your obedience to His anointed ones.

Oh, think of all the other miracles of provision God did and how they were preceded by instructions: Moses in confronting Pharaoh; Joshua and the Israelites marching seven times around Jericho; Elisha telling Israel to “make this valley full of ditches;” Jesus telling Peter to cast a hook into the sea and expect to find a coin in the mouth of the first fish; etc. When Jesus tells you to go wash in the pool of Siloam, are you going to do it?

In summary, when you are troubled, you want someone to pray for you to receive a miracle because that is the easiest solution to your problem. But more often, the miracle is held back because you have not obeyed the instructions from God’s word or from one of His anointed servants. In this vein, Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, said something like this: “Most all Americans seek a spiritual experience, a spiritual sense of connectedness with God. But most of them do not want to be brought under His authority nor under the authority of anyone.” Oh, what are you missing out on because you do not follow instructions? Pray, yes but obey also.

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