On Laminin and Spittle
When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch the man and heal him. 23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?”
24 The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.”
25 Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him away, saying, “Don’t go back into the village on your way home.” – Mark 8:22-26
When one of our children was in the nursery at the church we served, Diane went to pick him up after the service. “He did have a dirty diaper,” the nursery worker said. She was all of 15 years old. Diane asked, “OK, did you just put the dirty diaper in the diaper bag?” A questioning look accompanied her next comment, “No, I just threw it away.” Diane: “Where is it. I’ll need to wash it out so we can take it home and put it in the wash.” The questioning look was replaced with a look of shock and awe came over the girl. “You mean you use it again?!?!”
We’re not talking anything like that level of grossness when Jesus spits on the blind man’s eyes. But you do wonder. Or am I the only one who is at least slightly put off by his actions? There is some evidence that there is healing power in saliva. Consider this comment.
Microbiologists have [lately] turned their attention and experiments to the half gallon of our saliva generated each day. (We don’t swallow our saliva when we are asleep—hence “fasting saliva.”)
They have found histatins in our spit. Histatins, a protein, are a group of histidine-rich cationic peptides which are antibacterial and antifungal and are found only in humans and primates. They, also, found neutrophils with their abundance of white blood cells which are the micro cells that protect our body against infectious diseases and foreign invaders. And they found laminim in our saliva!
Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia talks about laminim: : “a glycoprotein component of connective tissue basement membrane that promotes cell adhesion” (Miriam Webster Dictionary). From Early Church History blog.
Laminim is an amazing thing. Watching the full video of Giglio’s explanation of it is worth the time. And while I’m not certain that I agree with the idea that Jesus used spittle as a medical treatment, it is clear that Jesus did use saliva on the man’s eyes. And the man was healed (albeit in a two-step manner). Would you be willing to let Jesus take you by the hand away from the crowd if it meant you were healed – no matter how he chose to do it?