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Pool of Bethesda: Do You Want to Get Well?

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard

 

“Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6).

Strange question.
Of course he wants to get well.
Or maybe not.

Jesus had come to Jerusalem during one of the yearly feasts. Thousands of pilgrims came from throughout Israel. While he was there, he paid a visit to a place called Bethesda, “the house of mercy.” It was a pool near the Sheep Gate in the northeastern section of the city. Five colonnades (or porches) were built by the pool. As one writer put it, it was the Jewish Lourdes of that day. The Jews believed an angel would periodically come and stir the waters. The first person to enter the water after it had been stirred would be healed of his disease.

So hundreds of sick people gathered around the pool, waiting and hoping for the water to be stirred. When Jesus passed by, he met a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. When he found out how long the man had been paralyzed, he asked only one question, “Do you want to be well?”

On the surface it seems to be a bizarre question. Why else would the man be there? Of course he wanted to be well. Was Jesus insulting his intelligence? No, not at all. He was asking a very serious question. He was asking because it was entirely possible the man did not want to get well.

Change is scary.
Sometimes it’s easier to stay the way you are.

A few years ago a friend gave me a piece of insight that explains why we are the way we are.
“Everyone wants progress. No one wants change.”

Change is hard even when we know we need to change.
We get used to being dysfunctional and we can’t imagine life any other way.

Jesus is saying, “Do you really want to be changed?” If the answer is yes, then miracles can happen. If the answer is no, even Jesus cannot help you.

Thank you, Lord, for being the Divine Disturber of the Peace. Thank you for not leaving us as we are. We pray for the courage to be changed by the Holy Spirit. For too long we have made excuses for the way we are. We want to get well. Heal us, O Lord. Amen.

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Originally published March 14, 2015.

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