|Tyler and I standing in what used to be a pool.|
|The Pool of Bethesda|
"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 in 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 thirty-eight 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?” “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. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ” So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well."
While in Israel, we visited the pool of Bethesda on the edge of Jerusalem. We first talked about the context. This pool was located next to a pagan temple and was said to have healing powers when the waters were stirred by the Roman god of medicine, Aesculapius. The waters were actually stirred when stores of water were released from Herod's palace. Due to the belief that you could be healed if you were the first in the water when the water was stirred, many diseased and disabled people stayed day and night around the pool.
Bethesda means "house of mercy." Jesus came and showed the paralyzed man mercy. He asked him, "Do you want to be well?" Have you ever thought about that question? I have thought about it a lot lately. I want to live in the truth of what God says each day. Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10)." Jesus came to make us well, but we have to want it. We have to pick up our mat and walk. We have to act out our Faith by following what Jesus says - this requires personal responsibility. How often have I settled for less than what Jesus wants for me? How often have I followed along with everyone else to seek healing from another god?
Jesus came and left us with the Holy Spirit to give us life to the full - spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally. LIFE TO THE FULL. Live in God's truth, instead of the world's. How does it look different to live in God's truth? The man at the pool told Jesus he wanted to be well but didn't know how. Jesus told him, I will make you well, not Aesculapius, not the god of medicine. We must take responsibility and seek Jesus' truth in ALL areas of our life - spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. He will make us well, but we have to want it.
I pray that God's gives us all a desire to be well in every area of our life. Much love!