The beginning of John 5 records a story that I often think of. Jesus has returned to Jerusalem for one of the festivals and He passes the pool of Bethesda. The pool of Bethesda was believed to have healing properties, so those in need of healing would gather round it and enter when the water was “stirred”. Legend held that an angel would come down and periodically trouble the water and if you were lucky enough to get in when that happened, you had the potential for healing.
When Jesus entered the pool area, He saw a man who had been sick for 38 years. The text tells us that Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time and yet He asks the man a question that everyone would assume they know the answer to: “Would you like to get well?” The man’s response is equally interesting; instead of giving an immediate yes, he tells Jesus why he can’t be healed. The story continues with Jesus healing the man’s physical ailment and then coming to him again, telling the man to stop sinning, addressing his spiritual ailment as well.
Jesus’ question and the man’s response convict me every time I read this story. I recognize that there are still so many areas of my life about which Jesus asks, “Would you like to get well?” and I answer with the reason why that can’t happen. There are things in each of our lives that are outside of our control, but there’s also an awful lot that Jesus gives us control over like our actions and reactions. He promises to be with us and to give us what we need to get through any obstacle or deal with any situation in our lives. What He requires is that we look to Him for our strength and guidance.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach