“When Jesus saw [the invalid] lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ ‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” — John 5: 6-9a, NIV
The healing at the pool
The Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem had a reputation. But it was a good reputation since many of the locals believed the pool had healing properties. According to the New King James translation of the Bible, many thought that whenever the waters stirred, an angel was touching the pool; whoever entered the waters first would be healed of his affliction.
“Bethesda” means “house of mercy” in Aramaic. And the Scriptures tell us that a multitude of people would sit by the pool daily waiting to be cured. However, it is unknown how many people the waters theoretically healed.
It’s there by the pool, located near the temple, that Jesus met a man who had been sick for 38 years. The man was waiting to be healed by the water, but he couldn’t quite make it down into the pool before someone else beat him to it. The man had been literally waiting on a miracle for decades.
But he never expected the Savior of the world to cross his path.
Jesus saw this man’s struggles and suffering and was moved by his situation. The man had done nothing to deserve Jesus’ attention. He was not especially holy and had not lived a sinless life. We see this clearly when Jesus tells him later to ‘sin no more.’ Jesus’ heart was broken for this man’s physical and spiritual limitations.
It’s the man’s interaction with Jesus that results in his recovery. And, with renewed faith, the man immediately obeys when Jesus tells him to get up and walk.
Waiting on the outskirts
Just like the man lying beside the Pool of Bethesda, people around the world are waiting on a miracle — a miracle of healing, both physically and spiritually.
One out of 10 people in the world does not have adequate drinking water. Most water sources are polluted with animal waste, trash, and riddled with diseases. And the chains of poverty keep families shackled to a life with dirty water.
These people feel hopeless and have no one to help them change their circumstances — just like the invalid who had no one to help him into the water. Impoverished families are forced to wait and pray that one day a miracle — the miracle of clean water — will transform their lives.
In the story of the man by the pool, it’s clear that Jesus sought out people who seemed to be waiting on the outskirts of the temple. John tells us that there is a Jewish festival happening; and yet, Jesus walks among people who are suffering — not celebrating. It’s Christ’s compassion that seeks them out.
Is Christ calling you to seek out the sick and hurting?
Be someone’s ‘house of mercy’
In John 5, we see that ultimately it’s Jesus Christ who heals the lame man. The water was a means to an end.
Just as Jesus sought out people on the outskirts of the temple, we can seek out those on the margins of life. People without access to clean water suffer the most— physically and spiritually.
But it’s difficult to tell someone about the Living Water when he doesn’t have clean water to drink.
But for $15 you can provide clean water for one person for one year. That gift can mean the difference between sickness and health. And since many wells are erected near churches in poor communities, individuals have an opportunity to hear about Jesus as they gather water.
People around the world are waiting for the miracle of clean water. And when you give clean water you are meeting their physical needs just like Jesus met the needs of those He healed. When you care enough to provide for someone’s physical well-being, you are showing the love of God.
Won’t you consider giving the gift of clean water today? You could be opening the doors for people to hear about Jesus Christ.