Do You Want to be Healed? Where will you find the healing power?
5 A certain man was there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, knowing that he had already been there a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I don’t have anyone who can put me in the water when it is stirred up. When I’m trying to get to it, someone else has gotten in ahead of me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 Immediately the man was well, and he picked up his mat and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]
Reflections on John 5:5-9
Yeshua visited a pool by the Sheep Gate — a hang out for many people with disabling conditions. One man had been there most of his life — wanting, on the one hand, to be in the waters when they were at the peak of their healing powers; on the other hand, prevented by his disabling condition from getting into the water.
As Yeshua came by he noticed that the man had his patois down pat. “Hey, buddy, can you help a friend? Ya’ see, I’ve been here goin’ on 38 years and every time the water starts to stir, I get elbowed and pushed back by those stronger and more agile than me. I want to get me some healin’ but I need someone to make sure I get to the front of the line. Can you help a friend?”
Yeshua could see that the man had come to believe the story he told about himself and that he lacked a genuine inner sense of motivation. Yeshua confronted the resistance that was within the man — that being disabled was his self-identification, his sense of who he really was. Were he to engage healing, he would have to change — not only his mobility, but also his self-awareness.
Yeshua’s question to him (“Do you really want to be a healed person?”) unmasked his resistance. It cut him to the quick, chastening and discrediting both his inner disposition and his outer actions (or lack thereof). The confrontation from Yeshua shook him from his lethargy and gave him energy that had long since been buried deep within him. Yeshua said to him, “Stand up like the Human Being that you are and leave this place of illness and resistance. Go and be well!
When confronted — ostensibly about working (carrying his mat) on the Sabbath, but actually about no longer being oppressed by that which had paralyzed him — he simply told his story about being urged by a stranger to act in this new celebratory manner.
Later, in the temple, Yeshua suggested to him that he needed to take precautions so as not to repeat the pattern of listening to those outside voices that wanted to control him and incapacitate his ability to act on his own. A relapse could be worse than the original.
The man went away, finally having recognized Yeshua, and told others about how Yeshua was so instrumental in his transformation as a person.