“Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked…” John 5:2-9
No matter how many times through the years I read or heard preached the Bible story about the paralyzed man who couldn’t get healed in the pool of Bethesda but got healed by Jesus Christ, there was a heartbreaking and mightily convicting message in the story I couldn’t see until the Holy Spirit of God opened my heart and showed me what no human had.
Sick people could get well if they got into the pool right after an angel stirred the water. But one particular man had been paralyzed for THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS and could not get healed because the people were too busy and self-consumed for all those years with STEPPING IN FRONT OF HIM to get what they needed and wanted to take the love, time, and care to help him! Jesus didn’t just perform a miracle. Jesus had MERCY on someone the world had overlooked for years!
I had always looked at this story from the standpoint of Jesus’ miracle instead of seeing the Lord’s message about mercy. How many of us are so busy and consumed with our own lives, wants, and needs, that we are spending our lives running to the pools of water at Bethesda, so to speak, while we step in front of the very people we need to be lifting up with the love of Christ and helping? We live in a world filled with people in dire need, but how many people like the paralyzed man go their whole lives let alone a single day without getting the help they need because we are stampeding to the pool at Bethesda with our self-centered ways? Is it not high time we open wide our eyes, hearts and lives and learn what it truly means to love our neighbors as ourselves? It’s time we stop stepping in front of everyone else and lift those in need into the pool of the love and provision of the Lord God almighty.
My prayer for us all is that we would humble ourselves before the Lord, repent of our sins, believe in Him, be filled with the gift of His Holy Spirit, and learn to walk in His ways with hearts and actions full of His love and mercy to pour out into a world in desperate need.