Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 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. ~John 5:1-8 NIV
The words kept ringing in my ears...
Do you want to get well? Do you want to get well? Do you want to get well?
I remembered this very healing that took place at the pool of Bethesda when Jesus uttered these words, but I couldn't remember the exact location and the context of the words. And so my search began...
I found the reference immediately and went right to John 5, and I studied. I read the words over and over. I even studied the Greek a bit. I went to my Bible software suite and studied it in a commentary. What are you trying to say to me here Lord?
Do you want to get well?
And...then I knew. I've been sick. Not in the physical sense that most would think of...cold, flu, virus...but heartsick, grief-sick. And, like the invalid here in this passage, I've been waiting on someone to help me into the "water". My statements might sound something like this, however...
-I can't do this. It's just too hard.
-Everyone around me seems to be oblivious to how deeply I'm hurting.
-It's easier to just stay where I'm at. Grief work is too hard.
-I'm putting on weight again. I seem to be going in reverse of what I should be doing.
-I've tried everything, but nothing seems to work anymore.
-I want healing, and I'm just too tired to do anything about it. Nobody seems to understand that.
For me, "the water" represents that which I can never reach. Like the invalid, I've had moments where I've simply laid there waiting on someone to help me. But everyone would run right past me. Like the invalid, I got used to my circumstances and eventually fell prey to them. I allowed them to overtake me at times (i.e. food). Like the invalid, I somewhat gave up the fight. I felt it was useless...I would never reach the "water".
But then the Holy Spirit quickened me with those words that wouldn't go away. Do you want to get well?
When I studied this passage, I realized a couple of things...
1) The invalid DID want to get well. He was just "stuck" in his misery.
2) Jesus was the only one that could help him see the way out of his misery.
3) The man had to obey Jesus' instructions to receive his healing.
4) The man no longer relied on anyone else to get to the healing waters. He stood up and walked.
5) The man didn't need the waters to be healed...he needed the Savior.
So what am I supposed to do with this Lord? What are you trying to say?
Do you want to get well?
Yes, Lord! I do! I desperately do!
Then, start walking. Nobody else will carry you where you need to go. But, trust in what I tell you to do, and you will have the strength to do it...without the aid of the "healing waters".
My healing may not yet be complete (and it may never be complete this side of heaven), but I'm walking friends...I'm putting one foot in front of the other, and I'm walking!