Donald R. Elly, M.Div.
“Do you want to be made well?” Jesus’ question is addressed to an unnamed man who had been lying by the poolside of Bethzatha for long time. John informs us he has been there for thirty-eight years.
First, think about that length of time. How limited your life has become, and how many times in all those years the effort to get into the healing waters has failed. Perhaps it is the resignation and despair that captured Jesus’ attention and provoked his act of compassion. Yet it might also have been the determined look on his face, not to give up that made Jesus aware of his plight.
I thought of those like Nelson Mandela, imprisoned in South Africa for twenty-seven years, who came out and chose to lead the people of South Africa to a peaceful end to apartheid. “Do you want to be made well?” I don’t know! Being made well means I that I am willing to deal with unknown changes and a radically new life. Gone is the excuse of disability.
Suppose we are that unnamed one? What would be necessary to be made well? Three needs come to mind. First, I would need the strength that Jesus offers to risk change. Second, the power of the Spirit filling me with hope and making me aware that Jesus’ healing is given with no strings. Finally, being made well requires getting involved in the works of Jesus—giving away the grace that found me and made me whole. John tells us that this healing is the third sign of God breaking in to make the world well.
Prayer: Jesus, your grace finds me when I’m in despair and makes me well. Thank you. May I give your grace to others so that the work of God continues. Amen.
May 26, 2019; Cycle C; 6th Sunday of Easter
Acts 16:9-15; Psalm 67; Rev.21:10; 21:22-22:5; *John 5:1-9