Jesus’ encounter with the man at the pool of Bethesda, as recorded in John 5: 1-9, is a fascinating story. Here was a man afflicted with infirmities for thirty-eight years whose excuse for his prolonged condition was “I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me” (v. 7, KJV). I have often wondered where was his family? His friends? Did he not have anyone who cared enough about him to get him to the edge of the pool so that when the angel troubled the water, he would be among the first to go in? They could throw him in or roll him in; it really didn’t matter how he got in. That aside, I have always been intrigued by verse 5: “When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, ‘Wilt thou be made whole?'”
It seems to me that Jesus’ question spoke to the man’s will, his desire. Had he become so comfortable in his condition that healing would have been nice, but it was no longer a pressing need for him? I think of some people, Christians included, who seem to relish the role of being victims, constantly rehashing and reliving all the negatives that have happened to them. They themselves will admit that such a state is stressful and make them unhappy, yet no matter how many people have tried to help them move along in their lives, they are stuck. Like the man at the pool, their total identity is now wrapped up in their condition. It defines them. Notice this man no longer had a name; he was known by his location.
Yet how liberating it is when Jesus comes on the scene. It is not His will to leave us in our present state, but He comes asking the question: “Will thou be made whole?” It is interesting that Jesus did not ask him if he wanted to be healed. That would only address his current infirmities, but by asking him if he wanted to be made whole, Jesus was not only speaking of his physical infirmities but to the total man. He was asking, “Do you want to be healthy spiritually, emotionally, and physically?”
The Healer is asking the same question of us today. I do not know what condition has been holding you hostage, but whatever it is, you do not have to be known by your condition. Rest assured that Jesus can set you free. John tells us, “Jesus saith unto him, ‘Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.’ And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked.” He can do the same for you. He’s just that kind of God.