Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people—blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?”
The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”
Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off John 5:1-9 (The Message)
My interpretation of this passage lets me think that Jesus will confront people who look at themselves as victims. Jesus came upon a man who had lain crippled at the healing pool for 38 years. That’s a long time to hang out waiting for help. The man complained that he had no one to help him get into the pool when the water was stirred up. This makes me think that his bigger problem had to do with isolation and lack of connection with people than he had with his paralysis.
Nonetheless, Jesus gave him a chance to finally get his healing. However, Jesus asked the operative question. “Do you want to get healed?” Funny question you may say, but there is a deeper truth at stake. Sometimes people aren’t willing to do the work or make the hard stretch to get well. For whatever reason, some people make the choice, deliberately or perhaps unknowingly, to stay in their misery. Even misery is at least predictable, and it takes the risk of change in order to get full healing. It often takes hard work to get well. We may need surgery, rehabilitation, 12 Step work, counseling- whatever- in order to get well.
Jesus gave the man one more chance. But even then, Jesus challenged him to “pick up his mat and walk”. The man needed to participate in his healing in order to make it happen.
The message is this- if we want to get well, that is, healing from whatever affliction we have, we need to make the reach, and decide that we need help.
Then we need to act on it.
Prayer: Thank you Father for healing. Help us to see our need to ask and to seek your complete healing, Amen