Imagine sitting by the Pool of Bethesda with hundreds of sick people surrounding you…waiting for the water to move. Those moaning in anguish around you are maimed and weakened by many sicknesses. You picture yourself as the man who has sat by this pool for 38 years. Over these years, many thoughts have filled your mind. “Healing will never come to me.” “I’m stuck here for the rest of my life!” “My life counts for nothing; it’s fragmented into so many pieces, I’ll never get it back together again.”
Imprisoned by the needs of his life, this man never expected the following question from Jesus: “Would you be made whole?” [John 5:1-9] And, of all places, at the Pool of Bethesda which in Hebrew implies a place of shame or disgrace!
The man could have entertained these thoughts: “Can He not see my need? Doesn’t He know how long I’ve been in this condition? I’m just frustrated! Aggravated! Why such a ridiculous question?”
More excuses: He doesn’t have anyone to put him in the pool. And, by the time he thinks he would get there, someone else was already in the pool. Fruitless…helpless…hopeless were the thoughts he entertained for 38 years.
Surprisingly, Jesus tells him to “Get up. Take your bedroll. Start walking!” The man’s response is pivotal. He does what Jesus tells him to do and is healed on the spot! He then picked up his bedroll and walked off. That is, he picked up the bed roll that he once sat upon.!!!! And, to beat it all, it happened on the Sabbath, the day that the scribes and Pharisees least expected it.
Matthew Henry wrote: “We are all by nature impotent folk in spiritual things: blind, halt, and withered; but full provision is made for our cure, if we attend to it.” It wasn’t the water that needed to move; essentially Jesus was saying, “Receive your healing. Get off your ‘duff’ and start walking!”