John 5:1-7 

John 5:1-7  has Jesus back in Jerusalem and coming to the pool of Bethesda.  “Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people—blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves”. This pool has been excavated in the area just north of the temple area, and found to have five porches, just as John said.  Nancy and I saw it when we were in Israel a few years ago.  Imagine a pool with hundreds of people who were outcasts and ill folks lying there hoping the pool will restore them.

Jesus comes to the pool and sees a man who has been there hoping for a miracle for many years.  “One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years”. Thirty eight years, lying by the pool daily, hoping somehow to get healed. This man has suffered from a paralytic condition for a long time, and apparently was frequently at the Pool of Bethesda in hope of healing.  But he’s been disappointed to this point.  Then it all changed.  Jesus was there talking with him. For some reason, Jesus selected this guy among all those He could have healed. Jesus was not about to heal the masses at the Pool of Bethesda, but He was about to miraculously meet this one man’s need and restore Him to health.

But before He heals him, Jesus asks a very important question. “When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, Do you want to get well”?  Jesus knew that not every sick person wants to be healed, and that some are so discouraged that they put away all hope of being healed. Healing happens through faith and obedience.  Jesus dealt with a man who may have had his heart withered as well as his legs so He attempted to build the faith of this man. As bad as his current situation was, at least he was familiar with it.  So the question on whether he wanted to be healed was sincere, and the man makes it clear he does by how he responds.

The story of the pool was that when the water was stirred and moving, those who were able to get in would be healed.  This poor man had never been able to get in because of his paralysis, so while there may have been healings before, he had missed the opportunity due to his condition.  “The sick man said, Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in”. Spurgeon pictured the multitude waiting around the waters of the Pool of Bethesda, all of them waiting – instead of looking to Jesus. He thought of how foolish this waiting is for many people:

  • Some wait for a more convenient season
  • Some wait for dreams and visions
  • Some wait for signs and wonders
  • Some wait to be compelled
  • Some wait for a revival
  • Some wait for particular feelings
  • Some wait for a celebrity

What are you waiting for?

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