The Disabled Man In Me
by Dan Lohrmann
In John 5:1-15, we read about a disabled man by a pool called Bethesda. The unusual setting for this story has always intrigued me.
Picture this: many blind, lame and paralyzed people are sitting around a pool. What are they doing? They’re waiting for the water to stir. The first person in the pool when the water moved was believed to be healed. But this man, who had been disabled for 38 years, was too slow, too weak or too disabled to win the race into the pool.
Recently, it struck me – I am like that unnamed man. No, I am not severely crippled or unable to walk. I am not an invalid in that way.
So how are we alike?
First, I always seem to have some big problem that needs to be fixed. Over the years, I’ve been “paralyzed” by health concerns, family struggles, finances, relationships, career and more.
Second, I typically ask God to get me out of the difficult situations my way – “Can you give me a lift into that pool over there?” On my own, I am as helpless as this invalid man in creating meaningful change that lasts.
Third, and most important, Jesus offers a simple question that has a deeper meaning: “Do you want to be healed?”
And like the invalid, I respond with a laundry list of obstacles and alternatives. I offer my plan: “What I need you to do is…”
But Jesus offers a different answer. His lasting solution surprises as he heals both body and soul. “Get up, take up your bed and walk.” This is extraordinarily good news for the disabled man – and for me!
As I ponder this story, I realize that, like that invalid man, my deepest problem is not my list of personal concerns. Jesus later told that same man, “Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”
Like him, my root issue is sin.
What’s needed? To know Christ and the power of his resurrection. What I really need is renewed faith in Jesus, who doesn’t need the pool.