When I first read the account of Jesus healing the man who had been ill for 38 years (John 5:1-14), perhaps like you, I was startled by Jesus’ first words to the man, “Do you wish to get well?” It sounded a bit heartless, even clueless, at best enigmatic. Of course the man wanted to get well! How could he not? But Jesus, always knowing what’s in our hearts and knowing us better (or more honestly) than we know ourselves, knew exactly what the man needed to hear. Whether or not there were any curative powers in the waters or not, Jesus sensed the real issue was within the sick man himself. For 38 years he had fallen into a routine and it had become comfortable on some level to him. Perhaps he enjoyed the role of being the victim, the martyr. Maybe he was afraid of having to operate as a healthy person, having to make mature difficult decisions in the real world outside of his familiar world. The alcoholic, the drug addicted, the chronically fatigued, the obese, the routinely unemployed or underemployed. We become experts at avoiding the fearsome realities of the world outside of our comfort zones. We become masters of manipulation… of self, of those nearest to us. And we fail to live life to its potential. This is not to say that there are not clinical issues which demand medical intervention. But in reality, much of the sickness in our society is of a spiritual nature, if we are really honest with ourselves. God gives us the gift of free will. The alcoholic must want to be sober, the chronically unemployed must want to work. If I’m out of shape and leading an unhealthy lifestyle, I must want to change my habits regarding diet and exercise. Like the sick man at the pool at Bethesda, spiritual healing often enables us to heal physically and emotionally. It begins with our free will and our decision to sincerely say, “Jesus, I want to get well. I surrender to you. Please help me.”
5 thoughts on “Do you want to get well?”
This really gave me food for thought about some moments in my life. Thank you.
The words of Christ can do healing wonders in so many profound ways.
This is an excellent post! The more I thought about it, the more I recognized, I tend to have an excuse I have adopted as a script for weight, personality flaws, and even my remarkably bad golf game, which has been going on over 38 years! !! It seems, I must not want to get well in may aspects of what “my thing” happens to be!
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A very open and sincere comment. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, George. This is so true of me. I have also always been grateful that Jesus decided to heal this man even before he identified himself or his purpose. God bless those Christian social service disciples who put helping people ahead of just preaching to them.