This morning I read about a man who was made immediately whole by Jesus….after 38 years of suffering. Interesting. That is a lot to think about, isn’t it?
I am sure that you are familiar with the story…the man at the Pool of Bethesda found in John 5:5-16. Jesus is traveling into Jerusalem for a feast-probably Passover-and he winds his away among the crowds at the Pool of Bethesda. There are A LOT of people there. It is crowded, busy, probably very noisy and chaotic. It is an interesting place because the Pool is believed to have healing powers; but only at certain times of the year. It says that when the water ‘moved’ then it contained the healing powers. Unfortunately, it only contained healing powers for the first person who made it to the water after it was stirred by the angel. (This angel stirring the waters is how it contained healing powers…I’ve got questions about this too, but that’s probably a personal quest!) Anyway, I think you can imagine the feeling of competition, hope and hopelessness that existed in such a place. This is a time in history when there is very little knowledge about human illness. There are no hospitals, MRI centers, antibiotics, or even eyeglasses. If you were born with poor eyesight-too bad. If you were born with maladies or got injured over the course of your life-too bad. Little health problems became permanent life conditions.
So, Jesus walks into a scene where sick and maimed folks are hoping to be the first into the water. I can feel the intensity of the situation as the people wait for a chance to be healed-an only chance, really. It’s an ancient-day lottery. You can sense the hope of each waiting person, praying that they will be the lucky one. And you can sense the hopelessness of those who, unaided, will never make it to the water because they can’t move on their own power. This is the very situation that Jesus introduces himself into- He strikes up a conversation with an impotent man. He asks the man if he is going to be made whole and the man, surely in desperation, tells him that he has no one to put him in the water; he’s not fast enough…others always beat him. I am fairly confident that the man was also making a plea with Jesus to carry him to the water. Jesus simply says,
“Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And IMMEDIATELY the man was made WHOLE.” (v. 8-9)
In 7 words, the Savior permanently fixes this man’s situation. Immediately he was made whole. This simple miracle speaks to the absolute ability of our Savior to fix things right now and to fix them completely. He can make us WHOLE. He can do it right now. He can heal us from things that we have dealt with for years. Our requests of Him are feeble in comparison with what He can actually perform in our behalf. This man only wanted a ride to the water – Jesus skipped that solution entirely and got to the heart of the request. He is magnificent in his powers of healing and compassion. I love this Man, my Savior, and I am trying to serve Him.
There are times when I feebly request myopic solutions to my problems. I am grateful that He has much bigger things in mind for me. Sorry, I can’t leave this miracle without touching on the point that I brought up at the beginning-this man was healed immediately. But, he had already been infirm for 38 years! (v. 5) So, it was immediate and complete in the moment, but it took 38 years of suffering to get to that moment. AHHHH, another lesson reveals itself…miracles will come and they will change our lives, but there might be a waiting period involved in which we will suffer a little bit…carpe diem.