Healing at the Pool of Bethesda
John 5:1-15; The Desire of Ages, pp. 201-204
Jesus sees our needs and helps us.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith . . . it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
Have you ever wanted something very much and had to wait a long time for it? Maybe you wanted a new toy or a watch, or maybe you were sick for a long time and wanted to get well quickly. The man in our story today knew what it was to want something very badly and have to wait a long time for it.
Jesus has come to Jerusalem to attend a feast. Soon He finds Himself near a pool, the Pool of Bethesda. Five beautiful covered porches surround the pool. This is the kind of place that should be peaceful. It should be surrounded with lush green plants and colorful flowers. But it is a place of sickness and misery.
All around the pool, people are struggling. Sick people lie in all angles or sit hunched over. So many people! Jesus stops. He looks around. He sees the blind, the deaf, the crippled. He sees some with stomach problems and skin diseases. Some suffer from mental health problems. His heart goes out to the elderly, the children, and those of all ages in between.
All are here hoping for a miracle. The people wait for the water in the pool to move. Many believe it will be stirred by an angel. And whoever is first in the water afterward will be healed. Jesus knows that isn’t true. It is a false hope, but the people wait and watch. And when ripples appear, the eager people rush forward. Desperate for healing, they trample the smaller or weaker.
Jesus looks over this crowd of sick people, and He has compassion on them. He wants to heal all of them! He knows some of the Jewish leaders would be angry if he healed the sick today, because it was the Sabbath. They would even try to kill Him. But His time has not come. His work on earth is not yet finished.
Jesus knows each person’s name and their sickness. He especially notices one man who has been crippled for 38 years. Jesus also knows that the man is sad. He is lonely, and feels that he is not worthy of God’s mercy. Quietly Jesus kneels beside him and bends over to see his face. Tenderly He asks, “Do you want to be healed?”
Hope jumps in the man’s heart. Of course he wants to be healed! Doesn’t everyone here? He doesn’t know who Jesus is. He doesn’t know that Jesus can heal him. He believes his only hope is to get into that water. So he tells Jesus, “Sir, I don’t have anyone to help me. I can’t get into the pool fast enough. When I try, someone always gets in before me.”
Jesus doesn’t ask the man to believe in Him. He doesn’t even tell the man who He is. He knows the man doesn’t feel worthy of God’s love. But Jesus wants to pour His grace out on this man. So He says to the man, “Get up! Pick up your bed and walk.”
The man doesn’t hesitate. He obeys. He wants to be made well. Nerves and muscles that haven’t been useful for years are brought to life! The man jumps up! He rolls up his rug and blanket. Then he looks around for the One who just healed him. But Jesus has slipped away into the crowd.
Later Jesus meets the man in the temple. The man is overjoyed. And he tells everyone he meets the good news about Jesus.
That day Jesus healed a man’s body. Jesus’ healing grace also brought him back to God. With love Jesus says to us, “Will you be healed?” He wants us to be healthy in body and spirit. He wants to pour out His grace on us too. Will you accept Him today and let Him be your Savior too?