I love that the meaning of Bethesda is “House of Mercy” or “Living Water.” It is in this very place that the “Living Water” would flow to an unsuspecting man who had lain by this pool outside of the city walls for 38 years, hoping but maybe not fully believing he would ever receive healing anymore filled with a combination of slim hope doused with a deep sense of hopelessness.
In this encounter, that day came for this man but in a way he never could have imagined. A stranger sees and has compassion on him, approaches and asks a seemingly odd question, ”do you want to be well?”
Healing at the Pool John 5:1-15… would you like to get well? The man replied, I can't, sir. I have no way to get to the waters when they are stirred. Someone always beats me or cuts me off to get there. Jesus told him, stand up and pickup your mat and walk!
This Jesus encounter is near and dear to my heart because of the ways God has used it to bring about some pretty significant healing in my life over these last number of years as I continue to press in closer to Him.
I love that the meaning of Bethesda is “House of Mercy” or “Living Water” It is in this very place that the “Living Water” would flow to an unsuspecting man who had lain by this pool outside of the city walls for 38 years, hoping but maybe not fully believing he would ever receive healing anymore filled with a combination of slim hope doused with a deep sense of hopelessness.
Have you been there? You know the place… a place of unwanted outcasts filled with hopelessness, anxiety and depression, suffering. A place mainstream society rejects and passes by with a wide berth leaving you feeling like your pain and suffering are forgotten by all. You have tried many times and many different ways to get to the “healing waters” of a “special pool” that promises relief but it never does and you can never get there soon enough… all the miracles have been handed out for the day. You sink deeper and deeper into a place of despair and hopelessness believing there is little hope that you will ever be “well” …This is your lot in life…don’t dare believe that things could change for someone like you. Sounds like a pretty grim picture doesn’t it, yet there is a glimmer of hope that remains, maybe, just maybe.
In this encounter, that day came for this man but in a way he never could have imagined. A stranger sees and has compassion on him, approaches and asks a seemingly odd question, ”do you want to be well?” Rather than reply to the question, the man offers up all the excuses why he is not well. Sometimes I think we are like that too. Jesus comes, extends a hand and invitation to get out of our mess, pain, situation but rather than accept it we begin to make excuses for why we are stuck there. Jesus already knows all of that and has a solution but it will require something from us. A desire, a belief, an obedience to pick up our mat and walk even when it doesn’t make sense or look the way we think our healing should look like.
The question Jesus posed was not so unusual as it seems in first reading because he is asking the deeper question of “will you believe in Me, put your trust in Me, act in obedience and leave that old known life behind." Sadly, some people can’t make that step. They don’t really want to be helped out of their old life although they cry out for help all the time. They are stuck in a place of “my help/healing needs to look this way. If I let go of this life then what will I have. I have known this life for so long it actually is getting uncomfortably comfortable for me.”
They do not want to be helped out of their weakness; they either think they can do it on their own, or have given up entirely. They embrace their weakness; their helplessness is their comfort and identity. Maybe it is the attention, or it is from years of discouragement, and being so beaten down they are not able to “lift their eyes” and see who is before them. They will seldom truly seek the help of another and if they do put conditions on what the help should look like.
Maybe, it is fear, pride, or anger that inhibits them. They sometimes crave the attention of others through their helplessness, or hide under a cloak of discouragement. This results in not recognizing the One who can bring them comfort therefore remaining stuck and stunted in their growth. All of us have been there at onetime or another which is why we need a good community around us, a willing and open heart to encounter the One who does the impossible.
True healing is all about the transforming work Christ does in us. The physical healing is but a shadow to His true redemptive work and how we incorporate Him in our everyday lives. For this man, he had been doing it his way for 38 years to no avail…Encountering Jesus moves us from trusting our own efforts or superstitious beliefs of some magical formula, water, piece of wood of fabric outside of ourselves or our own inner strength and fortitude to acknowledging God as the equipper and sustainer of our lives.
God doesn’t forget us in our suffering. He sees us and longs to meet us in those deep places of anguish!!!! Jesus will come to you, for you. He fully exemplifies Mercy and Living Water, and extends them to us now and always. The man thought he had to get to the water for his temporary healing, but Jesus brought Living Water to him filled with love, mercy, compassion and healing without ever touching a drop of that pool water. When all seemed lost, Jesus made a way and invited him to embrace a new life, an abundant life with a stern warning to leave sin behind just as he left the life at the pool behind or something worse than laying 38 years with a bunch of desperate, societal outcasts would befall him.
During Jesus’ last feast of the tabernacles in John 7:38-39 He says to us:
On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”
This is what He offered the man at the pool that day and offers us today, wherever we find ourselves… scampering to get to the pool or laying there and considering all the reasons why we are still seeking a miracle of healing by some means other than through Him.
Here is a link to a GREAT poem I think will bless you!
How Long Have You Been Waiting