Everything Jesus says and does is with Rabbinic intent and instruction. Not one encounter is wasted and the healing of this man at the pool of Bethesda is no different. Jesus asks this man a question with an obvious answer, “Do you want to get well?”. Suffering as an invalid for 38 years, certainly the answer would be a resounding,“Yes!”. But let’s anchor this story in its cultural context to discern what Jesus is really asking. In Jesus’ day, 20 centuries ago, if you were unable to work to earn a living, as this man was, your profession would have been that of a beggar. Begging was a recognized profession in Jesus’ day. Jesus knows that as soon as He heals this man, he will no longer be a beggar. He will have to apprentice in a trade and work for a living. In asking him, “Do you want to get well?” Jesus is saying, are you ready and willing to steward the wellness I can bring you? Are you ready to work? Are you ready to live healed? Jesus is still asking the same question of us today. Do you want to get well? Are you willing to steward the healing and freedom the Holy Spirit offers? How we respond to this question is in direct correlation with living in freedom or not. Do we want to get well or are we comfortable with our current coping strategies? Do we want to get well or prefer to live life broken because it’s familiar? Do we want to get well or are we afraid to pull back our self-protective layers to reveal what is wounded beneath the surface? Do you want to get well? Freedom is on the other side.
Holy Spirit, I want to get well. I am willing to steward the freedom that is mine in Christ.