by James Smith,
There’s a story about a man who had been sick for 38 years. He would be taken to this pool that had healing properties. Whenever the waters would stir, the first one to get down into the water would be healed from their ailments. Understandably, a large number of sick people would gather by this pool and try to be the first to get in. Being lame, there was no way that this man could get into the pool before others.
None of us are completely perfect. We all have some type of ailment, whether physical or not.
Jesus comes by one day and sees the man. The question he asks the man is profound. Jesus looks at him, knowing he has been sick a very long time, and asks him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5)
Why do you think Jesus would ask this man if he wanted to get well? Don’t sick people want to get well? Isn’t the answer obvious?
I think the question “Do you want to get well?” is a question that must be asked and it must be answered by us all. There are a lot of people in the world who are sick from a lot of different ailments. Some ailments are physical, but others are emotional, spiritual, psychological, or physiological. There are even some socio-economic ailments related to poverty or the cultures in which we belong. Some people seem content to live life in continual sickness. We’ll think, or even say, that we would like to change, but we seldom ever do. Why?
So along comes Jesus, or someone else, into our lives and they see the sickness in which we live. They see the scars and the hurt in our emotional or psychological lives. They see our poor physical health from our poor habits connected to our diets or smoking or lifestyle choices. The see the spiritual emptiness that characterizes our spiritual lives. In some way, we are asked, “Do you want to get well?”
Do you want to change your health? Do you want to change your relationships with those around you? Do you want to change your family? Do you want to change your marriage? Do you want to change you economic situation? Do you want to change your emotional or psychological condition? Do you want to change your relationship with God?
The answer may never be expressed in words. The answer is expressed in what you do and what you change.
Jesus asked the man at the pool, “Do you want to get well?” On getting an affirmative answer, he told the man, “Get up, pick up your mat and walk.” For the first time in 38 years, the man got up and walked.
None of us are completely perfect. We all have some type of ailment, whether physical or not. Yet God wants us to be whole and well. But we have to want it. We have to want to get well. We have to want to change. We have to want to break our destructive habits, heal the hurts and scars, give up our laziness or crutches. We have to get up, pick up our mat and walk. We will never do that unless we want to get well.
So, do you want to get well? Are you willing to do whatever it takes?
— James Smith is the author of “The House That Richard Built” coming out in April 2012 at All Star Press.