If you’ve been hopelessly struggling with emotional, physical, or spiritual issues for months or even years, and have given up trying, Jesus has a question for you, “Do you want to get well?” If so, consider meeting Jesus at the pool.
Jesus Asked the Question at Bethesda
Jesus posed his question to the invalid lying at the edge of the Sheep Gate pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda. As John in his gospel writes, “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?’” (John 5:6)
Instead of immediately saying, “Of course, I want to get well,” the man, who had been an invalid for 38 years, explained why he needed help. He 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.” (John 5:7) He had given up, and resigned himself to need the help of others.
Okay, I’ll cut the invalid a break. He was no doubt distraught. He had lost any hope of ever being placed in the pool when an angel disturbed the waters, to bring healing to all who entered. And as we learn later, he didn’t know who asked the question, the Nazarene who was in all the local news because of his miracles.
Many Give Up Hope
Many of us have at one time or another given up on trying to improve our life situation, being cured of sickness, or being released from the bondage of bad habits and sin.
Many have given up hope from a human standpoint of being able to help ourselves or benefit from the help of others. We remain addicted. We stop trying to improve our family or financial situation. We no longer resist the temptation we have succumbed to for years. We offer excuses and explanations as the invalid did.
We know divine intervention is possible, but we sit at the pool every day lamenting our lot in life. Divine intervention is possible, sometimes immediately, often through our actions and God-given resources when we allow God to take over.
What Jesus Requires from Us
Notice what is required of us. “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 8-9) Jesus immediately healed the man. But he also told him what to do next. He didn’t walk away, letting the invalid to his own devices.
He required him to take action, to take up his mat and walk. But there’s more to the story.
The invalid was cured at Bethesda, translated “the house of mercy” or “the house of grace.” Yes, Jesus provided physical healing, but he also provided spiritual healing, and a very blunt warning. “Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’” (John 5:14)
Have You Been to the Pool?
Have you met Jesus at the pool? I have. Unfortunately, despite what Jesus told me at the pool, I fail to “sin no more.” I keep returning to the pool, the Lord’s house of mercy and grace.
Listen to God's Words
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, (Psalm 103:2-4)
And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. (James 5:15)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Also read: Psalm 6:2, Jeremiah 17:14, Mark 5:34
In the Words of Others
“Fear imprisons, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages; fear sickens, faith heals; fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable.” Harry Emerson Fosdick
“God is the God of the impossible and the one who can make a miracle out of any situation.” Joyce Meyer
Think About It
Is there an emotional, physical, or spiritual problem you’ve been struggling with for a long time? Describe the issue and why you think you haven’t been able to overcome it.
Have you given up hope, or are you still trying the best you can, with or without the help of others? If you’ve given up hope, how does it make you feel?
If you’ve given up, did you at any time turn to the Lord for help? If yes, why do you think the Lord allows you to continue to struggle? Describe your relationship with the Lord.