I'm not sure if any of the great painters of religious art ever captured the scene of the angel of God stirring the waters for healing at the Pool of Bethesda.
The picture in my mind is a pathetic one. I see hundreds of people waiting for the water to be stirred and then trying to be the first one in the pool to get healed.
That had to be a sorry, if not somewhat disconcerting sight.
John 5:3: "In these lay a great number of sick folk--some blind, some crippled, and some paralyzed (shriveled up)--waiting for the bubbling up of the water. (4) For an angel of the Lord went down at appointed seasons into the pool and moved and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was cured of whatever disease with which he was afflicted."
I'm not going to speculate about whether this actually happened, or it was a local tradition, or a myth of some sort. The bible is very specific and gives no indication that it is anything but the truth.
I do know this: it grabbed Jesus' attention. Particularly one man's plight.
There was one crippled man who never seemed able to get into the water fast enough to be the first one in. Someone else always beat him to it.
It appears he was a failure at this for some 38 years.
He was bitter. Angry. Disgruntled. Some would look at him and think he was cursed.
Now, my read on this might be a bit different than some, and I can't say I have a leg to stand on other than my own speculation, but it seems to me that this guy must have blown a good chance a time or two in 38 years.
Me personally? I think he likes being a victim. I think he likes complaining.
I think he doesn't really want to get into the pool.
Why do I think that?
Mainly because of Jesus' reaction to his complaint.
Jesus asks him, "Do you REALLY want to get well?"
The response? More complaining.
"No one wants to help me." "Someone always beats me to it!" "I try and try, but I always come up short."
You know what? I know people like that guy!
Always around the action, but never in it.
I actually have known people who have lived and died and lived their entire existence out of the loop. They heard the message. They knew WHAT to do. They just never made it happen for themselves.
Jesus' reaction and response to the man was simple and concise: "(8) Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your bed (sleeping pad) and walk!"
Yes, apparently so.
Because when the crippled man heard this "He became well and recovered his strength and picked up his bed and walked." (vs. 9)
Need something in your life you have been waiting a long time for?
A healing? Of some sort?
Yet, you sit there and "wait for the bubbles...".
Get on with it. Get it to Jesus. Give it over. Listen to His words today and heed them.
Whatever it is today that has been defeating you, holding you back, depressing you, keeping you from being what God has intended you to become, stop lying around and waiting for the bubbles.
The angelic whirlpool is out of order.
Jesus has the plan.
Assess your situation. Listen to the voice of Christ. Obey.
The old hymn says, "Trust and obey for there is no other way."
Keepin' it Real,
Pastor Kevin <><