One-spit prayer. Really!
Have you ever tried a one-spit prayer ? Seriously. There is one. I discovered it on a Google search one day.
Studying one of Christ Jesus’ healings - the one in John’s gospel, Chapter 9 (see also Mark 8), of a man healed of congenital blindness - I read that Jesus spat on the ground and anointed the man’s eyes with the muddy mix of spit and dirt. Then he sent him off to wash it away. After all this, the man could see.
I have heard a variety of takes on this act act of spitting. Could it be that Jesus was using mud as a form of medication to cure blindness? That wouldn’t make any sense, because Jesus had already explained to his disciples that the blindness was not a material condition with a human cause. The disciples wanted to know who and what had caused the blindness. They assumed it was the result of sin; but whose? The man or his parents? Jesus explained that neither sin nor a person had caused any blindness. He suggested a new and healthier premise for their reasoning – that the man was a work of God made manifest.
To the Christ, man is a creation of God, not even temporarily damaged. To believe that God permitted even a momentary condition of sin or blindness would have rendered the case incurable to them. But Christ Jesus’ spirituality gave them a way out of disease. He redirected both the disciples’ and the man’s focus, from sin and sickness, to God and His perfect work. This new premise for spiritual reasoning would allow for healing in the case.
Christian Science explains Jesus’ healing methodology this way :
"Deducing one’s conclusions as to man from imperfection instead of perfection, one can no more arrive at the true conception or understanding of man, and make himself like it, than the sculptor can perfect his outlines from an imperfect model, or the painter can depict the form and face of Jesus, while holding in thought the character of Judas.
I think that this premise shift is what Jesus was talking about when he continued his explanation to the disciples, discussing “night work” and “day work”. Jesus said:
“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
To me, Jesus was saying he could only accept the Genesis Chapter 1 premise of life, revealed in the light of God’s perfect day, where all is known in its glory and perfection and goodness as the work of God.
He points out that although a darker “night” premise suggests itself – the material, sinful man premise introduced in Genesis Chapters 2 and 3 – we don’t have to stay there and struggle in the dark. We can upgrade our premise with spiritual understanding and reason from the basis the ever-present Christ gives. That is where healing is found.
Next, Jesus spat on the ground, made clay, and anointed the man’s eyes.
We don’t know for sure what he was thinking. But we do know that he didn’t see the man as diseased, so medicating that disease would make no sense. We also know that Jesus and the disciples (and most probably the patient) received a Jewish education. Jesus preached in synagogues. One doesn’t get to do that unless they are faithful in their Jewish practice.
So I did a search on ONE SPIT JEWISH PRAYER and I came across the Aleinu, a beautiful prayer recited at the end of each of the three daily Jewish services. The Aleinu is the one occasion when the act of spitting is performed in Jewish prayers. After the first line of the prayer, the congregants would spit on the ground before continuing.
In the first line, the prayer praises and ascribes greatness to God as the Master of all creation, a creation not formed like earth-nations; that God hasn’t placed them in the same situations, or given them the destiny, of those who worship vanity and nothingness and pray to a god who can’t save.
Then they spit.
The prayer continues, “But we bow in worship and thank the Supreme King of kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He, who extends the heavens and establishes the earth, whose throne of glory is in the heavens above, and whose power’s Presence is in the highest of heights. He is our God; there is no other. Truly He is our King, there is none else, as it is written in His Torah: You shall know and take to heart this day that the Lord is God, in the heavens above and on the earth below. There is no other.”
Of course, we could pray such a prayer with a personal sense of God as a tribal protector. Or, we could pray it with the understanding that Christ gives of a universal and loving God that heals and saves and leaves no one out.
In this second sense, the Aleinu is a prayer that worships and ascribes greatness to God as the Master of all creation, and identifies all of God’s creation as not formed like earth-nations – that is, not formed after the Adam-man type, out of dust and sin; that God hasn’t placed man in the same situations as Adam and his tribe, or given us the destiny of sin and mortality that comes from worshiping the vanity and nothingness of matter, which is a god who can’t save.
From the Christ-perspective, the Aleinu spits on the belief of life and intelligence in matter – the belief that we are sentenced by sin or by our gene pool to a lifetime of disease. It promotes the worship, in all humility, of God as supreme, as the true Life, the King of kings, and the one Parent of the real man - the Christ-man - who is spiritual and perfect.
We don’t know what Jesus was thinking or how he was praying. But we do know that his words and his actions were consistent throughout his career.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote,
“The method of Jesus was purely metaphysical; and no other method is Christian Science. In the passage recording Jesus’ proceedings with the blind man (Mark viii.) he is said to have spat upon the dust. Spitting was the Hebrew method of expressing the utmost contempt. So Jesus is recorded as having expressed contempt for the belief of material eyes as having any power to see. Having eyes, ye see not; and ears, ye hear not, he had just told them.” (Miscellaneous Writings, 170)
Jesus sent the man away to wash his eyes – to wash away the false belief that matter or sin controlled his life or his health. And in so washing, he could see.
If you have been feeling stuck in your prayers, searching for a healing, and aren’t satisfied with the results, you may well find that a good one-spit prayer is what you need.
Remember, Jesus didn’t believe he had a blind patient. His prayers always uncovered the true facts of God and of man as pure and perfect and good. Christian Science offers a perspective on the Aleinu that can make a night to day difference in the outcomes of your prayers.
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I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no
© 2011-2023 Michelle Boccanfuso Nanouche, CSB. All rights reserved. Pages updated 2 December, 2022.