I got in the car to drive home just like any other day. But on this particular day… it was different. My heart was still pounding in my chest as I got in the car. I turned on the air as I drove home hoping that would calm me down. I cranked up the music. Hot tears flooded my eyes–I blinked in an attempt to make them go away. I finally pulled my car into my driveway and let out a deep sigh hoping I could convince myself everything was going to be ok. It wasn’t. I went inside, and flipped on the TV. I grabbed my computer determined that something…anything would be capable of taking my mind off my problems of a long day.
We all turn to something when we need to get our mind off our problems. We all look to some form of escape. Perhaps you turn up the music to drown out your own feelings. Perhaps you play video games to escape the reality of your life. Maybe you turn on the TV unable to deal with the silence around you. Right now someone, somewhere is sitting at their phone anxiously awaiting a phone call or text–stressing out because they haven’t heard back instantly. Someone right now is fretting as they examine their finances as they nervously watch the stock market. Somewhere, someone is trying some new medicine as their last chance for a cure. Right now, someone is upset because the Government is shut down and they don’t know where their next paycheck is gonna come from.
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?” (John 5:2-6)
For thirty-eight years, this man had been laying at this pool. This pool was considered a place where one could get healed. He had been waiting for thirty-eight years. He had been watching this pool for thirty-eight years. He was waiting for the waters to stir. He was waiting so that he could climb into the pool–so that he could be healed. His eyes were fixed upon the pool–because he wanted to be well.
I find it interesting that Jesus asks him if he wants to be well. Jesus is asking the man who had been waiting thirty-eight years whether or not he wanted to be healed. It almost seems a little insulting. Who waits thirty-eight years by a pool where people get healed unless he wants to be healed? But I almost wonder if that is exactly what Jesus was getting at. You see this man was waiting by a pool hoping that he would magically get healed. His eyes were fixed upon the pool. Then, Jesus walks up to this pool. Jesus asks this man (who I imagine still had his eyes fixed upon the pool), “Do you want to be healed?” I can almost see the sly smile on Jesus’ face (because He knew what He was going to do). He’s being ironic on purpose. “Do you want to get well?” “Hey, do you REALLY want to be HEALED?”
So of course, the man–eyes probably still locked on the pool, replies, “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.” (John 5:7) The man has had THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS of attempting to get into the pool in order to get healed. Talk about dedication. Talk about commitment. How long would you have waited at that pool before giving up? Talk about having all your eggs in one basket. This guy had spent almost his whole life there at the pool.
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 5:8–9) It’s almost as if Jesus was saying, “Take your eyes off the pool.” “Your healing is here.” Jesus is the healing for this man. The man no longer has to stare at the pool and wait for another thirty-eight years. Jesus can free this man from being paralyzed Jesus can end this man’s waiting. Jesus is there to heal this man. Jesus is the answer to this man’s problems. Jesus can deliver this man to victory over his defeat. Jesus can break through this man’s prison. Jesus can shout through his deafness. Jesus can shine through his blindness. Jesus can do more than just heal him physically. Jesus can forgive his sins. Jesus can offer this man a new life. Jesus can offer him eternal life.
What is your bethesda pool? What have you spent years looking to in order to heal you? What have you been waiting for? What basket have you put all your eggs into? You depending on the Government to provide for your needs? You looking to the doctors for all the answers? Do you search for what you need from Google? Have you been depending on other people? Depending upon yourself for everything? Look to Jesus now. He is the only one who can deliver you into victory over your defeat. His the only One who can end your waiting. He is the only One who can free you from your paralyzation. He is here to heal you. He is the one who can break through your prison. He can shout through your deafness. He is the only one who can shine through your darkness. He is the only answer you need. He is the source that can fuel you. He can quench your thirst like nothing else can. He’s available now. He’s always there. He’s available whenever and wherever you need Him. So the only question that remains is, “Do you want to be well?”