What must it have been like to be disappointed, day after day for most of your life? It was difficult to even get there everyday, but then to be passed by, because you couldn’t get to your feet before the others. It just didn’t seem to be fair. But then a special day came; Jesus came to the pool.
The gospel of John tells us about such a man, a man with a malady. He was physically disabled and had been for thirty-eight years; that’s a long time to hurt and to struggle, to not be able to rest or find comfort.
1After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. 3 In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; 4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.]5 A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He *said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” 7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus *said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” 9 Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. John 5:1-9 NASB
We don’t know anything of this man’s background. Did he have a family? How was he able to get to the pools? What was his malady? Apparently, whatever it was, it prohibited him for getting to the water very quickly. I wonder how many times he came to the pools hoping to experience what he must have seen, when others were healed? I wonder if there were days that he got close, but someone pushed him out-of-the-way?
There were many other hurting people there that day. People society could easily ignore. The very young and the very old. Men, women and children. Probably, most of them did not have a job because of their aliment. The passage tells us the sick were there; perhaps those with asthma, diabetes, cancer, or leprosy. The blind came also. They desired to be able to see, maybe even for the first time. The lame made their way to the waters. Some came with a cane, hobbling with a side-to-side walk because their knees or hips or feet no longer worked the way they did at a younger age. Some had to be carried in on a stretcher. Those with deformities; hands, arms, legs that had not developed fully in the womb, the withered.
They all came for the same reason, at certain times, God would stir the water and the one who was first into the water would be healed. “Is today the day that it would happen to me?”, they would ask themselves, hoping that their life would be changed.
I believe our man was one of the lame. Somehow he got to the pools, but was unable on his own, to get to the healing waters. But on that day, Jesus came to this place, were so many needed His touch, and Jesus focused on him and his need.
The conversation was interesting. Jesus asked, “Do you wish to get well?”. It would seem obvious that the man did want to get well, but the question opens to us the thought process of man. The man’s response indicates he thought the only way to be healed was to be placed into the water. “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus did not ask him if the man wanted Jesus to help him into the pool, he asked if the man wanted to be healed!
Here we see God’s wonderful grace toward this man and to us. Even though he didn’t fully understand what Jesus was able to do for him, Jesus went into action for his good and said, “Get up, pick up your quilt and walk.” What he needed and want we need is to have God’s blessing on our lives.
Our world is filled with those who are spiritually sick, blind, lame, and withered. They come to a place called “church” each week only to watch others receive the touch of the Lord on their lives (the purpose of the church is to worship God , study His Word , pray , love one another , help each other , to learn how to live as godly people and to be equipped to evangelize the world). They think the answer is being in the right location at the right time. The answer is Jesus and to have him heal your malady.
What is your malady? Do you have a need that only Jesus can heal? In the church, we are all like the sick man. We all needed him to speak to us.
“Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.”
Is today your special day?