DO YOU WANT TO GET WELL?
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 15:6)
Do you want to get well? This man has been lame for 38 years. We are not told how he is lame, but we are told that he has been in this condition for a long time. Why is he at this pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem? Bethesda means “house of mercy” in Aramaic. This is the language which is spoken by Jesus and the people around him. Apparently when an angel stirs the water, the first person to get in gets healed. Therefore, the blind, the lame and the paralysed stay at this pool. They want to be the first to go in when the water is stirred.
We are not told why Jesus picks this man. He has many friends who are blind, lame and paralysed around him in the pool. Of all the people, why does Jesus specifically pick this man for healing? Some people will say that this man is very lucky.
Do you want to get well? The man has been at this pool for a long time. He is probably used to the begging and waiting. Does he really want to get well? Or is he used to his condition? Perhaps Jesus asks this question because he wonders whether deep down inside this man truly wants to be healed. Life is tough. Sometimes when we face a challenge for a very long time we get into a rut. Like this man at the pool at Bethesda, we get used to the wait for healing that we settle down to our dormant life beside the pool. We wonder if we will ever be healed. Until a stranger comes along and asks, “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.’ (John 5:7 NIV)
Sir, I have no one. The man is not only trapped in his lame condition. He is lonely. He shares his loneliness with Jesus. This weekend is Thanksgiving Weekend. This can be one of the loneliest weekends of the year. This is especially true if you have no family or friends to share Thanksgiving with. There are many people in Canada who are feeling lonely right now. What can we do for them?
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 NIV)
We have seen how Jesus turns the water into wine and heals the royal official’s son. Jesus’ physical healing of this lame man is different. “Do you want to get well?” After this question, Jesus wastes no time. He tells the man to get up, pick up his mat and walk. Whether he desires to be healed or not, Jesus just heals the man.
Jesus is specific about choosing this man. Jesus is specific about healing the man. Jesus is specific about healing the man immediately. Jesus is specific.
Jesus is also specific about us. Yes, as we celebrate this Thanksgiving weekend, we might wish for more; money, health, friends, a job, a house, a partner etc. However, things could be worse. For a start we live in Canada. We have so many things to thank God for . We have the freedom to worship God. We do not need to pay for our health care. We live in a relatively peaceful and safe society. Then we move to our personal lives. We are alive! We have a roof over our heads. We can walk and sit when we want to. When we think of what we have and not what we don’t have, we can say that God is specific about us. Things could be worse. Just as Jesus was specific about the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, God is specific about us. Give thanks with a grateful heart.