Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Poolside Living

You've heard of the Pool of Bethesda. The story in John 5:1-15 tells of this place where those who needed healing came in hopes of being made whole. The word Bethesda actually means house or place of mercy. I'm reminded of the song that says,"I'm running, I'm running, I'm running to the Mercy Seat, where Jesus is calling..." The only difference between the song and this story is that most of the infirmed mentioned here probably could not run to this place of needed mercy. The"certain man" noticed by Jesus had to have someone carry him to the pool. This man's infirmity had lasted 38 years and he was too weak or paralyzed to raise up into the healing pool waters. Every day he waited for his miracle. Every day became a shattered dream. 38 years of withered legs most likely left him with a withered heart. Until one day Jesus - the living, walking Mercy Seat came to the man in need.
What a strange question Jesus asked the man, "Do you want to be made well?" Excuse what may sound like sarcasm here but the man had suffered for 38 years and Jesus asks this. Why??? Notice Jesus did not ask "Do you need to be well?" There is a big difference between needing and wanting. You may need to lose weight, give up some unhealthy addiction or add something beneficial to sustain your life. However, if the "want" is not greater than the "need", the need just stays a need and nothing is accomplished. There have been times I have needed to shed a few pounds and even said I wanted to. Then a dessert tray came my way and I wanted some chocolate cake more than I wanted to lose the weight. Need went out the window in that moment. I don't mean to imply the man did not want to be well. However I notice him doing what many of us do - make excuses for why we can't get needs met. Jesus had such compassion on the man. Perhaps the Healer saw the withered heart more than the withered legs. With eyes locked on one another, Jesus commands the man to take up his bed and walk. Trust, obedience, surrender, healing. Had the command been ignored, so would have the healing.
Are you living by some pool of want, wishing someone will dip you in and "aba cadabra" you'll be well? True healing comes from the Mercy Seat. Only you can make the choice to rise up and walk.