“Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘ Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’ and at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.” // John 5:2-9
Man oh man. Take a second and imagine yourself as this man. Go on, really let your mind wander for a moment. You’re sitting on the side of a pool. Every few years an angel comes down to stir the waters and one lucky individual gets picked up and thrown into the healing pool. A few years pass, and the waters start to stir again. Your hopes well up inside you. You scream, yell, beg for someone to have mercy and carry you into the pool. Time and time again, despite your best efforts, someone else goes in before you. More years pass and your hope has been deferred too many times; you start to imagine spending the rest of your life damaged. The next time the waters stir you do not yell, not even making a sound. You just sit there watching someone else’s life turn around. Maybe you wonder, why me? Why was I given this life only to suffer? What value do I add to anyone else's life? You hear about a man that has the power to heal people, sitting in disbelief you might say, “I’m not good enough to be saved”, “Why would anybody save me? No one has found it worthwhile before!” Insecurity fills your being diving deeper into shame and hopelessness.
A ~random~ man suddenly walks past you and asks if you want to get well. What kind of question is that? Can’t he see your despair, your helplessness, desperation? The best response you can gather is why you haven’t gotten well already, “Well sir, others always go ahead before me, surely you don’t think that I could get well all by myself.”
Maybe he really meant, “Are you willing to do what it takes to get well?” OR are you stuck in the vicious cycle of lost hope, and finally given into painful comfortability?
The truth is, getting better takes a lot more effort than staying sick. It is way harder to dig out of the pit we’ve been stuck in for so long. Or maybe being well is scarier for us. What are we going to do with our new life? Are we afraid to move on? Being riddled with self pity is way easier than working on ourselves to actually get better.
I think Jesus knew this. He wanted to provide this man the opportunity to decide. Does he WANT to use Jesus’ methods (picking up his mat and walking) and His love to enable his healing? Or did he want to wallow in his hopelessness and never seek change?
Believe it or not, we actually are this man, we ALL are and can be- each and every one of us. Do you find yourself just waiting to get better, that you’ll hopefully wake up one day freed? Or wishing that maybe if you pray hard enough that God’s mercy will fall upon you and he will lift the burdens of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, mania, etc. from you? Maybe you really do want help, but aren’t willing to do what Jesus is calling you to do to receive healing (I’ve personally struggled with this aspect). We can so often expect others to pick us up out of our muddy pits and throw us into the pools of healing, not believing we can do any of the heavy lifting ourselves and wrongly blaming God's "impotence" or our condition for our stagnancy.
But that’s the catch- we CAN’T. On our own, we CAN’T get up and walk. We CAN’T get out of bed in the mornings. We CAN’T forgive that person that wronged us. We CAN’T stop worrying that we are going to mess up our lives. We CAN’T have healthy relationships with people, or food.
But Jesus offers us freedom and healing if we listen to His direction. We need to DECIDE that we will get well, no matter how many times we fall, allowing His words of TRUTH and understanding to guide us to stand again. Trust in His methods and commands, and with each and every little wobbly step, healing will permeate your being- and you can. Take a deep breath. You totally can.
- lifeline team
1 thes. 2:8
because we love you so much, we are delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well