There was a day when Jesus was walking with His disciples. They were going to Jerusalem for a festival. This company entered the city through the Sheep Gate, near the pool of Bethesda.
Five covered colonnades near the pool marked this distinguishing site. A man was there who was born blind. Jesus engages him in a conversation.
Many who are disabled crowd around these waters. Those who are blind, lame and paralyzed make this location their daily routine. The expectation of a miracle is on everyone’s mind.
The man talks with Jesus but has no idea who He is. Instead, he only talks about his predicament. When the waters are stirred, he is frustrated because there is no one who can help him into the waters.
Jesus asks the man the obvious, “Do you want to get well?” Even the man does not pick up on this query. He answers with his predicament.
Then, Jesus declares that the man is healed. He orders the man to pick up his mat and walk. The healed man does so.
Everything about this miracle is immediate. There is rehabilitation. No transition time is necessary.
Although the man has never seen since he was born blind, his mind can process people and he can negotiate his physical locomotion. The miracle is total. Yet, the mystery that surrounds it linger.
But there were sour legalistic people around. Some took the rules of living to the extreme. They criticized the healed man for carrying his mat.
In their perspective it was work and no one who was serious about their Judaism worked on the day of rest. It is ludicrous to understand the rationale of this encounter. Nevertheless, this extremism speaks to the unwillingness of people to see their own sin and stubborn refusal to humbly come to Jesus and believe in His message of grace.
The man who was healed kept on expressing a simplicity of his faith. He simply told his critics that he was just doing what the man who healed instructed him to do. When challenged to identify Jesus, the man honestly responded that he did not know who He was.
Later, in Jesus’ quiet way he met the man who He had healed. He told him to go and sin no more. Bad things happen to those who sin.
This is the message at the pool of Bethesda. God’s mercy comes to those in need. When it does, then humbly obey with simple faith.
photo credit: brucefong photography