The Man at the Pool

      Comments Off on The Man at the Pool

To listen to today’s reflection as a podcastclick here

Every day during this season of Lent we’re looking at the miracles of Jesus – his spectacular displays of supernatural power that are reported in the Gospels.    

Tourists at America’s national parks and monuments have been known to ask some really dumb questions.

Here are some of the “winners” of recent years as reported by park rangers:

Grand Canyon:  Was this man-made?  Is the mule ride down into the canyon air-conditioned?  Are there dining cars on the mule ride? 

Yosemite:  Do they turn the waterfalls off at night?  How long is the two-hour Valley Floor Tour?

Grand Tetons:  Where are the cages for the wild animals?  [pointing to snow] What’s that white stuff on the mountains?

Carlsbad Caverns:  How much of the cave is underground?  Does it ever rain inside?

Yellowstone:  Does the man who operates Old Faithful take a break at night?  Who puts on the meteor shower – the National Park Service or y’all?  The hot springs areas smell like rotten eggs; can’t you use Air Wick or something? 

Mesa Verde:  Why did the Indians build ruins?  And why did they build them so close to the road?  Do you know of any undiscovered ruins?

Niagara Falls: Where can I buy a ticket for the barrel ride?

Mt. Rushmore (one tourist to another):  Isn’t it amazing what Nature can accomplish?

Jesus asked a lot of questions, too. 

Billboards frequently declare that Christ is the Answer, but he is deservedly famous for posing more than 300 questions in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Here are a few of them:

“Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”  (Matthew 6:27)

“Who do you say I am?”  (Matthew 16:15)

“What good is it to gain the whole world, yet lose your soul?”  (Matthew 16:26)

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ yet do not do what I say?”  (Luke 6:46)

“Why do you look at that speck of sawdust in your brother or sister’s eye, yet pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”  (Matthew 7:3)

And then there’s Jesus’ remarkable question to a paralyzed man.  Let’s pick up the story in the fifth chapter of John:

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals.  Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which is Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.  Here a great number of disabled people used to lie – the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  One who was there had been an invalid for 38 years.  When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’”  (John 5:1-6)

Do you want to get well?

That’s the dumbest question of all, right?  Of course someone paralyzed for 38 years wants to be healed.

Or maybe not.

The paralytic dodges Jesus’ question.  “Sir, 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” (John 5:7). There was apparently an urban legend associated with the Bethesda Pool.  If there was a momentary disturbance along its surface – assumed to be the presence of an angel – the first invalid into the water was on the fast track to restoration. 

This poor guy has finished in second place or worse for almost four decades.  It’s always someone else’s fault. 

Maybe he’s so used to being sick, and so accommodated to the routines of his life, and so addicted to the attention he receives, and so comfortable not having to work every day, that he can only picture himself as a paralytic.  Maybe he suspects that being a healthy person isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be.

Do I want to get well?  Let me think about that for a moment…

His inquirer slices through the fog. “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 5:8-9). 

Here’s how the scene plays out in the TV series The ChosenJesus Heals At The Pool (The Chosen Scene) – YouTube

Jesus has a question for you today: Do you want to get well?

Are you ready to stop blaming and complaining that things haven’t turned out the way you always pictured them?  Are you prepared to quit trotting out the same tired excuses for running away from life – that you’re too tired or too old or too sick, or not smart enough or lucky enough or brave enough to face down the fears that have paralyzed you for years?

The choice is yours.  And the time is now.

Are you ready to do whatever it will take to receive from Jesus everything that he is willing to give to you? 

Now, that’s a very good question.