Jesus originally posed this question to a sick man at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. He had returned to the city for one of the Jewish holy days. As he entered the Sheep Gate, he saw the crowds of sick people, those who were blind, lame, or paralyzed laying on the porches. They were there hoping to see the waters stir, so they could dip themselves in and receive the healing thought to come from the pool. The paralyzed man could not get to the waters quick enough to be the first in and thus receive the healing. Jesus finds the man in a state of waiting (and I'm assuming hopelessness).
Though I am not physically hurt, my spirit has been crushed repeatedly over the last several months. Strained relationships, disappointments, and loneliness have left me hurt, broken, bitter, angry, and frustrated. Isolation has brought to light insecurities and fears that I thought were put to rest several years ago.
Jesus now finds me in a state of waiting, waiting to receive the blessing I know is already mine through Christ; waiting for reconciliation; waiting for COVID to be over. Just waiting. This waiting has created a sense of hopelessness.
When I ran across this story and read Jesus' words to the sick man, it's as if Jesus was asking me directly, "Would you like to get well?"
"Yes, Lord!" I desperately cried out in my spirit.
Now if that is true, then I know what I must do. I must go to Jesus, my Living Water, and receive His healing and His blessing. I am washed by His blood, I am sustained by His body, and now I abide in Him. He is all I need.
After reflection, I have come to realize that I had been looking to others to fill my needs, and it had left me empty and disillusioned. In the midst of COVID with so much uncertainty and weariness regarding the virus, I wanted a constant. In the past, friends had been just that- over on Saturdays and Sundays. I inadvertently relied on them to be a constant, even preferring their company over Christ's. Now, don't hear me wrong, I am not saying community is bad or unhealthy (quite the opposite actually), but what I am saying is that I was looking to receive from them what I should have sought for in Jesus. When they failed me, I was crushed beyond belief, but this makes sense: that community was an idol and they were never meant to fulfill the role I was putting them in.
Over the last months, Jesus has been ripping out an idol in my heart. This process has been painful, as evidenced by emotional and spiritual turmoil. Of course I have been unwell! It's also ok that I have struggled. This process has only served to highlight my absolute need for Jesus while revealing the true state of my heart. It has left me tearful in prayer, weeping during worship, and crying out in my spirit. It has led me to the foot of the cross, and for that, I am truly thankful that Jesus has led me on this journey.
"Would you like to get well?" (John 5:6b).
"Come to me, all of you would are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).