John 5:2 – 9 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
This story struck a personal chord in me: I was sick, either physically or mentally, for the better part of 40 years.
I get this guy, friends.
I really get him.
I get his frustration, his resignation, his hopelessness, his inability to help himself.
Well, this guy wasn’t tough and he couldn’t get going.
I told a friend recently, “I’ve got an addition to that mantra: ‘When times get tough, the tough get going, leaving the weak, the maimed, and the helpless behind, wondering, ‘What about me?'”
Times were tough: a multitude of the sick were making it into the healing waters, either on their own or helped by others.
But this man had no help.
“I don’t have a man to put me into the pool…while I’m coming, someone goes down ahead of me.”
I detect no note of bitterness in the man’s answer, just as I never felt bitter toward others when they couldn’t help me during my long years of illness.
I just continued to wait, hoping for someone to come along and carry me to the healing place.
In both of our cases, Jesus knew we had “already been there a long time”.
In light of that fact, Jesus’ question, “Do you want to get well?” seems like a thick-headed question.
“Of course I want to get well?! Who wants to be sick?!”
There are often inherent emotional paybacks in sickness that are even stronger than the desire to be well.
Time does not allow me to explore how pivotal this is to our healing.
It has taken a lifetime of transforming suffering into health to truly understand this principle.
Does that mean He will always heal instantly, as He did with the man by the pool?
Does it mean He will always heal in the way we want Him to heal?
His part is to accomplish that in the most perfect and complete way possible.
Our thoughts are not His thoughts.
Our idea of healing is often not His idea of healing.
We must simply put our weak, sick bodies and minds in the hands of the Great Healer.
Jesus made us.
After the world gets through with us, it is Jesus and only Jesus who can make us whole again.
Jesus, You are the Great Physician. I desire your healing touch. Show me, Lord, where that desire is not pure, where other aspects of my life bar the way to wholeness and vitality. You have my permission, Jesus, to search me and know me, to reveal where I hold onto emotions that are not life-giving, or practice habits that impact my body, soul, and spirit. Thank you, Lord, for being not only my Saviour but my Healer. Amen.