Thirty-eight years ago a family member or friend brought him to the Pool of Grace. They prepared a place as close to the water’s edge as possible.
But he was not the only one crowded around the pool.
Many believed in the ‘magic’ of the water to cure every disease and disability.
But there was a limit.
Only the first person to touch the water after it mysteriously rippled would receive the healing cure.
The man we are watching today struggles to be the first to note the ripples begin. He is up on his elbows looking only at the water.
On occasion there is a shout of joy as someone makes it into the pool and feels the flow of health flood their being.
For thirty-eight years he struggled to be the first.
But someone else always beat him.
That he does not have family move him away from the discouraging situation suggests that he has not lost hope.
Jesus showed up one day at the Waters of Grace and walked among the sick.
Jesus stopped by the 38-year veteran and spoke.
I imagine that the man never took his eyes off the water in the pool as Jesus asked, “Would you like to be healed?”
“Indeed I would! But while I am rolling myself toward the water, someone else gets the healing.”
Jesus did not ask him to take his eyes off what he thought was his only hope.
Hope! I think we overlook the 38 years at the pool as evidence of the cripple’s hope.
After a couple years of discouragement, I suspect most of us would ask to be carried to a good begging place, where the chances of success would be better. At least he would have a couple denari to buy some bread.
Touched by the emotion of the situation and the needs of the cripple, Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your pallet and walk away from your past disabilities!”
And with no hesitation, the man looked away from the water of no hope, and fixed his eyes on the Water of Life. He rose from the ground in a fluid movement, scooped up his mat, and hurried to follow the Man who had brought him healing and new life.
He believed! He acted on that belief!
None of the Gospel writers reveal his name. In fact, he just disappears out of the narratives.
I wonder where he went. I would have run all the way home.
The man’s healed muscles hadn’t felt like this in 40 years. The wind blowing through his hair. His robe flapping behind him. His mind already at home hugging his wife and children and nieces and nephews.
I can imagine him stopping every person he passed to hug them with the exuberant words, “Jesus healed me!”
We each find ourselves trapped around the things of this world that promise life.
The name on the world’s attractions is not Grace.
The names are Happiness, Fun, Enjoyment, Money, Power…
What we need, however, is Healing.
Healing from the effects of This World.
Such healing is available only one place – at the Pool of Grace.
Listen to the words of Jesus invite you, “Would you like to be healed?”
You have to give some kind of answer, some response to the invitation.
Any response will work, except “No.”
God respects our Choice.
With a “Yes!” response you will be on your way Home.
Joyfully running Home where your Father waits for you.
Make the choice now.