Soon after giving birth, I was injured and unable to walk for the first month of my son’s life. This should have been a time of rejoicing but I felt helpless, alone and scared. Thankfully my injury was only temporary and I eventually healed. I will never forget how God met me where I was and strengthened my faith even in my isolation.
However, If anyone felt alone and helpless it was the sick man by the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-9). The Bible says that he had been sick for thirty – eight years and he was lying there in a crowd hoping to be healed. It must have been such a pitiful sight. Broken bodies were littered all along the porch. Along with the pain and sorrow in their eyes, the horrible odors alone would have been enough to make a grown man cry. What was even worse was the fact that the pool was a longshot at best. The legend was that the first one who entered the pool when it was “stirred” by an angel would be healed. The rest of them would be a day late and a dollar short.
But something totally unexpected happened on that day. A healthy, young Jesus approached the sick man and asked, “Would you like to get well?” I imagine that after the initial shock, the sick man’s hope soared. I don’t blame him, mine would have too. I know for a fact, that no sane man would want to stroll through a battlefield of wounded soldiers just for the sake of the view. So, if this healthy man was walking amongst them then it must have been to help. And to the sick man’s limited knowledge, the only way for Jesus to help was to lower him into the pool of Bethesda. So, after Jesus asked, “Would you like to get well?” He said, “I can’t sir… For I have no one to put me in the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone always gets there ahead of me.” Notice that the sick man chose his words carefully so as to invoke Jesus’ sympathy without being too forward. After all, this was an once in a lifetime opportunity.
Nevertheless, Jesus had another way in mind. He didn’t need the Pool Of Bethesda. In fact, he didn’t need to lay a hand on the man. He simply spoke and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat and walk!” Miraculously, the man obeyed. On that very day, the sick man came face to face with the source of true healing.
Bethesda means the “house of mercy”. Interestingly, it was there that mercy triumphed. (James 2:13). For instance, Jesus had extensively traveled the area healing the sick, lame and the blind but for some reason the sick man had not been able to follow his public ministry. Maybe he had heard the reports and didn’t believe. Whatever the case, Jesus came into the sick man’s midst to meet him where he was, lying on the porch desperately hoping for a miracle. Isaiah 65:1 aptly prophesied about Jesus. It says,
‘I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me, I was found by those who did not seek me . . . I said, ‘Here am I , Here am I.’
Are you as grateful as I am that Jesus passionately pursues us? If so, then we must always remember that the greatest miracle performed at the pool that day was that Jesus not only raised him up to his feet, but that he more importantly raised him up as a child of God. Although we can be confident that we will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living, Christ’s ultimate goal is eternity with us in heaven (Psalm 27:13). Jesus will meet us where we are and in ways we never expected; but it will always be for his glory and for the salvation of our souls.