Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 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?”
“Do you want to get well?” That seems like an odd question, doesn’t it? The man had been sick for almost four decades. He was lying next to what many believed to be a healing pool. And yet Jesus asks the question, “Do you want to get well?” The man does not respond with a “Yes” or “No.” He simply gives the reason why he can’t get well. Someone, the man explained, always beat him to the healing waters.
Now move with me from the physical to the spiritual . . . from physical disabilities to spiritual ones. Is it possible that some people are satisfied with their spiritual disabilities – at least not dissatisfied enough to do anything about them? Many too quickly excuse their spiritual weaknesses, perhaps even blaming someone else. Let’s be honest; sometimes weakness is more comfortable. The expectations are lower and the responsibilities less. It is often easier to explain why you can’t do the right thing than it is to get the right thing done. A person with an addiction is satisfied to continue in it because, quite honestly, getting clean is much harder than finding another fix from a bottle or at the end of a needle or clicking to the dark sites of cyberspace. Certainly, it is harder to bite your tongue and squelch a rumor than it is to freely spread it.
The man in John 5 had been sick for thirty-eight years. Thirty-eight years! It would seem that just one time, somehow, he could have made it into the waters. Thus, Jesus asks, “Do you want to get well?” Spiritually speaking to all who have been lying on a mat of spiritual weakness for some time, are you getting too comfortable there? Do you want to get well? If you do, the Healer stands before you. Hear His instruction – stand up and walk in obedience. He desperately wants you to get up off the spiritual mat and follow hard after Him. Do you want to?
Lord Jesus, forgive me for becoming comfortable with my sin. Forgive me for staying down on the spiritual mat. Give me the desire to get up and walk away from my sin. Thank You for the promise to forgive me, cleanse me, and give me the strength to follow hard after You. In Your name. Amen.
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