Jesus saw him lying there. He knew that the man had been in that condition for a long time. So he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” John 5:6
In John, we are told the story about Jesus healing the blind, lame, and paralyzed at the Pool of Bethesda. It’s a familiar story to many about an invalid who had suffered for 38 years. Jesus came upon him lying next to the pool when Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
I always thought that was an unusual question to ask someone who was clearly suffering, and clearly in need of healing, who had come to the pool specifically for healing.
Yet, I see this scenario almost daily in my office. People come for help, get evaluated, are given a diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Often, however, they return a year or two later unchanged. When I review my prior recommendations with them, I am met with reasons and excuses for why they previously left my office with recommendations and have returned in a worse condition, not having followed my recommendations.
Sometimes we say we want to get well, but in reality, we are more comfortable in our known misery than we are willing to risk the discomfort of the unknown. Our pastor, Robert Morris, has said, “If we are comfortable in our bondage, we need someone to shake us out of it.”
I think that is what Jesus was doing when he asked the invalid if he wanted to get well. He was figuratively shaking him out of his bondage by having him examine his condition to determine if he really wanted to get well. Jesus knew the discomfort of the unknown:
-the man would be healed after 38 years of infirmity
-he would have to learn a new way of life
-once he was healed, Jesus expected him to obedient to what he would tell him to do: both pick up his mat and walk, and stop sinning
Sometimes we say we want to get well, yet we aren’t really willing to do what it will take, whether it be stopping an addictive habit, breaking off negative relationships, or transforming our thought life.
So Jesus’s question to the invalid, and to each of us is a valid, hopefully thought provoking question. He not only asks “Do you want to get well?” but in essence, “Are you prepared to do what it takes? Are you prepared for the change that being well may bring to your life?”
Great post. Quite thought provoking!
I have always loved this story. Many times Jesus has asked me that question and when He does, I realize an excuse is not the answer He desires. And the answer is…Pick up your bed an walk. If God has called me to walk in boldness, I must obey disregarding the past. If God leads me to pray the only correct response is to pray according to His Word. If God calls me to write and prepare all the necessary paper work for publication, which I do not like, I must obey. And I ask this question. How many of us have missed God’s call on our life because ,”Well, Lord, there is no one to take me into the water.” Well, Lord I have no education or no husband or no money or no support……” Daughter of the King, You have Jesus! He is more than enough! Go for it My goodness I had no idea I was going to say what I said. I hope no one was offended. Thank you, Michelle. I needed that! I love you!
Beautiful application as always, Margie!! I’m always learning from your insights! Be blessed!
Wow, Michelle, this hit me right between the eyes on an issue I just prayed about minutes ago! Thank you, Lord!
So glad it touched you Vonda! I love how the Lord answers our prayers!
Interesting post, and it’s something I’ve pondered in how it relates to combat trauma.
I want to get well…but I want to be well on my own terms. The experiences through which I lived have given my life an edge and a value that I don’t want to give up.
In other words…the experiences made me what I am, and I don’t want to set them aside and slip into another, lesser role.
I’m a wolf, and would not make a happy sheep.
It’s a weird dichotomy. I don’t want to dream about piles of dead kids, slaughtered to prove a political point – but I don’t want to forget them, either, to reach some sort of closure and acceptance.
So I’ve learned, not altogether successfully, to embrace the horror, as it were, and to bind my heart to that sorrow that’s too deep for words. It shapes me – in the ordinary life of suburban America I can no longer walk away from a stray dog or a homeless man or a crying child without doing what I can to help.
But I still have the nightmares, and I guess I always will. If they are the price of compassion and understanding, it’s a price worth paying.
So maybe I did get well after all, but the definition of ‘well’ is rather different than I expected it to be.
I think that happens to many of us Andrew – our picture of how things are going to go or look is often different from His. And getting well is often a process. I’m also learning that sometimes God is more concerned with healing our heart before our physical bodies. You are most definitely in the process of getting well. Celebrate how far you’ve come, my friend!
WOW -“Sometimes we say we want to get well, but in reality, we are more comfortable in our known misery than we are willing to risk the discomfort of the unknown. ” – that is right where I’ve been sitting. Needed to read this today!
Oh Kim, sometimes it is a harsh reality. But I think implicit in Jesus’s question to the lame man, was not just “Do you want to get well?” but “Do you trust me?” Sometimes that’s the deeper question we have to answer. But He is always faithful, always. Because of Him, Hope Prevails! Love you my sister!
My health has improved greatly. But then if I do too much, the crashing down comes no matter how fit I am or have the right attitude. It is frustrating. But thinking I wouldn’t have missed out on all my last five or so days in the row for anything except yesterday when I insisted on helping the family by going solo grocery shopping–selecting, on the conveyor, packing, in the car, out of the car, unpacking. Earlier in the morning, I did have some medical testing done and met with a friend. But then I shopped setting off the balance. Back to back to back never will work for me as it is the way of the physical issues I have. Sadly, I never ever know how much I can do until after the fact. So, yes, I want to be healed. I am not evidently or would not be in the place where I am now. Who am I kidding, driving across town wears me out in itself. Yesterday, I felt like a new person. It was fun until the other shoe dropped.
Julie, I’m so glad to hear you say your health has improved greatly. If God has helped improved your health that much already, He can do so much more. None of our journeys look the same. We each have valleys to cross, and lessons to learn, but His question to all of us is the same: “Will you trust me in the hard days as much as you trust me in the good days?” He is faithful and He never changes. Praying you continue to express that gratitude you did and see the full healing come. Because of Him, Hope Prevails!