Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 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.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. John 5:3-9
I read this story and ask myself the same question you are probably asking yourself. Why on earth would Jesus ask this poor sick man if he wants to get well? Do I? Do I? Are you kidding me?
Truth is, this story isn’t just about an invalid man that Jesus heals. This story is about me; this story is about you. And dear friends, Jesus is on to us.
At some point in time in our lives, to some extent or another, we have been blind, lame and mostly, or at the very least, feeling paralyzed. I know I have. We have all been emotionally wounded and left to lie near the pool at Bethesda. What takes you to these promising waters? A broken relationship? A troubled childhood? A devastating loss that you feel like you will never get over? A failure in life that you can’t let go of? An emotional “thorn” that won’t go away? We all have a story. We have all been lying there in our story for thirty-eight years, ten years, two months, completely impaired and devastated. Sometimes life seems hopeless and lonely, and although we lie in hope of a miracle, we seem unaware of the fact that Jesus sees us. He sees us, knows us, and will never, ever pass us by. We are so wrapped up in our pitiful selves that we don’t even realize that he is, indeed, asking us this very same question.
Do you want to be well?
Trouble is, even though we think it is a crazy- rhetorical at best- question, it actually is a very legitimate one.
Whatever being well means to you, will, most definitely, change your life. Do you think and truly believe that you are ready for that kind of change? Are you ready to be well? In this story, we don’t know how old this man actually is. We do know, however, that he has been there, in the same spot, every day, for the past 38 years! Once this man is healed, his life will never be the same. What will he do now? His life will no longer be about waiting for the waters to stir. What will it be about? Does he understand the implications of what will happen when it is no longer just him and his mat? Does he understand that he will have to go, put one foot in front of the other and make new decisions, breathe a different life, and do something new with his time? His life will now be consumed with new thoughts, new ideas and perceptions. His legs will take him to new places, places he has never gone to before. Will he know what to do? Will he know how to act? Will he know whom to talk to, and what to talk about?
What I find most fascinating about this story is not the fact that Jesus asks this man if he wants to be well (duh…) what is eye opening is the fact that the guy never really answers him! He immediately begins to give Jesus excuses and tries to justify himself for not being well already, as if it was up to him.
Somewhere deep within us, and I believe, deep within this man, we understand that perhaps we are ill prepared for what may lie ahead of us if this healing comes to fruition.
You will no longer be the “Invalid at the pool” that just sits and waits. You will now be the healed woman that can walk! Are you ready to walk?
How many times do we ask for healing? How many times do we ask for the thorn to be removed? How many times do we wonder what our life would be like if only…? but then the healer sees us and asks us this question.
Do you want to be well?
But our answer is not yes. Our answer is:
No one is here for me.
I’m waiting for “something” to happen.
I’m trying but others get in my way.
Why can’t we just say yes?
Honey, he sees you. He knows you need healing. He’s heard how long you have been there. He has not passed you by. He has not overlooked you. What you don’t realize is that even though he has asked if you want to be well, and you gave him excuses, he has healed you already.
The man never asks Jesus to heal him. Jesus never tells him he is healed. He just is! He gets up and at that moment he is cured.
You no longer have to wait for others. You no longer have to hold on to some hope of waters stirring.
What is your answer?
DO you want to be well?