“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.’ (John 5:5-8)
We’re all broken. Maybe not physically like this man by the pool of Bethesda, but spiritually. Jesus came to heal our spiritual brokenness, by the breaking of His body on the cross.
The invalid man couldn’t walk for 38 years. He was desperate to the point of following local superstition to get healed. He had made excuses as to why he was still in his condition– he was depending on a combination of legend and someone else’s efforts to improve his current state.
Jesus came along, went directly to this specific man out of the great number of people waiting at the pool in hopes of healing; and surely Jesus had compassion and saw his heart.
God knows exactly what state we’re in, just as He did with this man. I believe He saw the man’s helplessness. He saw his hopelessness. He saw his sin. But He also saw his genuine desire to get well, and He undoubtedly saw his faith to not only hear a word from God, but to more importantly be obedient.
In the state of our spiritual brokenness, God is likewise asking us “Do you want to get well?”
The answer isn’t as easy as you think. There are many people who would rather put their hope on their own human efforts or depend on material things or other people to satisfy a longing for what they truly need in their life.
But as Jesus teaches the Samaritan woman by the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” (John 4:13) Only Jesus can bring the true healing that we need, and only He can satisfy a thirst that has eternal implications.
Later Jesus found the previously invalid man at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14)
Jesus reminds us that while some may receive the miracle of an outer healing or blessing, they completely waste it and continue to live a life of sin afterwards, rejecting a life of obedience to the Lord. Our physical, mental, financial, and relational brokenness is but the outer shell of what He wants to heal within us.
Whether God decides to heal us on the outside or not, doesn’t make a difference in the lens of eternity- only inner, spiritual healing does.
Can we admit that we’re as helpless and hopeless as this man by the pool, or does our pride and reliance on other people and things in this world keep us from receiving the free gift that Jesus offers?
If you feel like there is something standing between you and a true life of surrender to the Lord, then ask yourself this simple question: “Do you want to get well?”
If the answer is genuinely “yes”, then you must listen and respond to God in faith, leave your past behind, and walk in obedience and fellowship with the Lord.
In the words of Jesus, “Get up! Pick up your mat, and walk.”
[From January 5, 2018]