Daily Word

Hopeless faith | John 5:1-9a

1 Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. 2 Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. 3 Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. 5 One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. 

6 When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” 7 “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” 8 Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” 9 Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking!

John 5:1-9a (NLT)

Can you imagine?

Yesterday I encouraged you to consider allowing God to use your imagination to see these events. There is  Jesus walking into the pool area (this is not a swimming pool by the way). It’s filled with sick and lame people mulling around. They ask you for alms. Maybe they ask Jesus as well. Do they know who He is? Jesus scans the crowd and walks over to one particular man. Continue on your own…

Want to get well?

This was a serious question. After 38 years, most people would give up hope. Why stay at the pool then? He was used to it, had his companions in misery there and could eke out a living from alms. “The sick man does what we nearly all do. He limits God’s help to his own ideas and does not dare promise himself more that he conceives in his mind.” (Calvin, by enduringword.com)

The water bubbler

Why does Jesus choose this man? Why doesn’t He just heal all of them with just one word? What’s going on in the man’s mind? His initial response indicates he had little to no faith. But Jesus knew he had faith. Here was the “water bubbler” telling him to get up. He didn’t need to wait any longer. He just had to do the impossible, stand up.

What is so absolutely cool about this is verse 9: “Instantly the man was healed!” So the man got up, took his mat and started walking. Picture this happening. This is amazing power.

<- Reflection ->
  • You may ask, “Why doesn’t he heal me, or my family member, or friend?” Have you given up hope? Are you expecting God to work in a certain way? Can you accept that healing may not come until heaven?
  • Maybe it’s not sickness but another request you’ve made for a long time. This is tough. Seek to know God and His character through accounts like this. Trust Him no matter what.
Public pool fountain rome. Image from Pxfuel.com

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