Day after day he sat by the pool of Bethesda watching others get blessed. He had been suffering for 38 years from his sickness, and perhaps had been unable to walk all that time. But he still had hope of being healed. He’d heard that an angel of the Lord would occasionally stir the waters at the pool of Bethesda.
Afterwards, whoever stepped into the water first was healed of whatever ailed him. So the lame man joined many other sick people who sat around the pool each day, watching and waiting for the troubling of the waters. He had been present a number of times when the waters were previously stirred, but others who had more mobility reached the water before he did. So he kept on waiting for another opportunity, and hoped that the next time the waters were stirred, someone would care enough to help him be the first to get in.
Angels, of course, don’t work independently of the Lord, and so we can be sure that the only time an angel stirred the Bethesda waters was when God sent him. So why didn’t God send an angel to stir the water so that everyone could be healed? By occasionally sending an angel to stir the waters of the pool of Bethesda, perhaps God was also trying to stir up His people by way of reminder that He was still in the healing business.
Every time someone was healed, God was sending a message to all Israel that He’d spoken centuries earlier to their ancestors: “I am the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26). Surely God didn’t want all those sick people waiting at the pool to think His mercy was limited, or that His love was greater for sick people who were more watchful and mobile than other sick people. Surely He wasn’t trying to encourage a selfish competition that would make the majority of suffering people continual losers. No, the God whom the Bible says shows no partiality (see Deut. 10:17; Rom. 2:11; Gal. 2:6) wanted His covenant people to know that He was their healer. And He was not choosing to heal specific ones and choosing not to heal specific others, because anyone who got into the water first was healed. Individual responsibility was a factor.
The same God who occasionally sent an angel, sent His Son one day to the same pool. And just as when the angel visited, only one person was healed that day as well. Did Jesus want to convey to the sick people present that He loved only one person enough to heal him? No, like His Father, He was trying to show them that He had the power to heal them all, hoping that all would trust Him for their healing.
Numerous times in the four Gospels, we can read about Jesus healing everyone who came to Him requesting healing. This healing at the pool of Bethesda was an advertisement for Jesus and an encouragement for the rest to trust Him and be healed. This healing should encourage us today, because the Bible says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). We may not all need a physical healing but we all have spiritual disabilities that need the touch of Jesus.
What is it for you? Maybe it’s not a physical handicap but a spiritual handicap. Is your handicap that you are spiritually blind? Maybe your handicap is that you are spiritually lame. Maybe you are spiritually paralyzed. The people who were sitting around the pool of Bethesda that day, they not only were physically handicapped, but there were many just like you and I that were spiritually handicapped and they were just waiting for healing in their life. This Sunday at South Side we will be taking a look at this poolside miracle. We would love to see you there for worship at 10:45. You can also come early for some fresh coffee and fellowship before service at 10:30! For more information visit us on the web at: www.southsidewch.com
South Side Church of Christ