It seemed too obvious a question to even ask.
For thirty-eight years the man sat among the sick, blind, lame and paralyzed at the pool called Bethesda. This was a gathering place of hope, for the Lord sent an angel to stir up the water from time to time and the first to step in after such movement found healing. Day after day, the man waited and day after day he remained gripped by his disability, for another always went ahead of him.
Nearly four decades is a long time to lay by a pool and hope for wholeness. But, what else could he do? That’s when Jesus approached him with the question. “Do you want to be made well?” Apparently the man took no offense and answered with humble and telling words. “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool …” He was alone in his quest and Jesus knew that long before their meeting. This day, the Healer came to the helpless and the pool became inconsequential. “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” John 5:8
Sickness and disabilities are tough. Countless people face their days with unwanted restrictions that deny full participation in everyday life. The hope of healing seems just beyond them. If you’re familiar with it, you understand the battle between trust and experience, hope and discouragement, prayers and patience. It’s not a battle with our faith, but rather a striving to lay hold of it’s promises. When heaven seems silent, we watch for the movement of the water and miss the movement of God.
Jesus comes with a probing question; a question that is as relevant to us today as it was to the man at the pool. What is it that we want? Could it be wholeness? Even in the absence of physical affliction, our condition is handicapped. We’ve been blinded and paralyzed by spiritual brokenness and though we recognize the outward manifestation of suffering, we forget it’s origin is sin. We are broken people longing for something more; something we can’t define. Jesus not only calls attention to it, He offers power to rise above our human limitations and be overcomers through His grace.
For thirty-eight years the man by the pool depended on others to be the source of his healing. It was his only perspective ~ until he met the Great Physician. What about us? If we look for solutions to our suffering through man alone, we will find ourselves forever lingering at the pool of hopefulness and coming away unchanged. But when we come to know Jesus, healing goes beyond our definition and we are promised a wholeness that is incomparable to life’s afflictions.
Do we want to be made well? It’s beyond our ability. But not beyond God’s. The One who sent an angel to stir the water, has sent Jesus to stir our hearts. Receiving Him lifts us from our helpless state with assurance that we are restored in the eyes of God … and that is wholeness indeed!