In the city of Jerusalem there was a large bathing pool. It was believed to contain a spring that would intermittently stir the water. People who were lame, blind or disabled would wait by the water so that when the “angels” stirred the water they would be healed of their affliction.
One man with his mat had been there for 38 years. We aren’t officially termed his diagnosis other than he was lame.
38 years of unanswered prayers to just be made “normal.” Each night he would return to his home broken hearted but still with just enough faith to keep returning. Surely by now he had proved his faith and yet he still cried out “Amen”
One day a man approached him. Without a look of pity, he simply asked “Do you want to be healed?
The man answered “Surely I do. I am here every day, but I can’t lift myself into these waters. I can’t get there in time to be made whole.”
Jesus already knew the answer to this seemingly foolish question, it was that man of brokenness, helplessness and hanging on to faith by a unraveling strand that drew Jesus to him. Jesus had that uncanny knack for finding the obviously helpless and hopeless to show the not only does he hold their tears in his hands, but his hands and grace will make them new.
He could have suggested lifting him into the water himself. He could have offered to just make him more comfortable. But Jesus looked past every minute of the past pain, helplessness and hopeless and said “Then pick up your mat and walk.”
No offering needed to be made. No bargaining on the man’s part. Just erased because he wanted his affliction gone. Leave it behind you because I have made you new.
But another affliction rose. You see it was the Sabbath and there is no hinky magic healing done on the Sabbath. The religious leaders noticed this poppycock and the arguing started.
Maybe you weren’t really sick.
It couldn’t be done.
Who did this to you? Who dare defy our very specific laws.
It’s the law and anything else is balderdash.
He didn’t really know who healed him, but Jesus found him in the crowd.
In that kind voice of authority said “See…you are well. Go, sin no more.”
This wasn’t a time for religious politics of the robed figures pointing their fingers. It was a time for rejoicing for faith rewarded.
Jesus finally remarked the end of all statements and one of the statements that eventually led to his death “While my Father is working, so am I.”
Maybe you are metaphorically lying at that pool and have been for years. Praying for healing over your addiction, your marriage, your mistakes, your children, your spouse…..Jesus seeks out the helpless and hopeless in this big pool of humans and hears your voice over the others.
He whispers to your heart “Do you want to be healed?”
Here is where you have a choice. You can fist pump the air and say “Heck Yeah…let’s do this.” But maybe you aren’t ready yet. Maybe your anger fuels you. Maybe your anxiety overtakes your rationale. Maybe your guilt feels well placed. Maybe you are just scared to surrender.
Trust the man who says “As my Father continues to work, so do I.”
He’s waiting by the pool, knowing the weights of your heart and he aches with you. Begging you to just ask. No matter what the “rules” say, he is bigger than that and ready as soon as you say “Go.”
And when the crowds circle around you demanding to know why you were worth it….Jesus will find you, his child who was broken and now healed, because you were worth it all along.