Like a faithful companion, for thirty-eight years his infirmity was with him. Sitting in the five porches of the pool by the sheep market in Bethesda were probably hundreds of sick people – some blind, some crippled, some paralyzed. They were “all waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had” (John 5:3b-4, KJV).
We are not told the nature of the man’s infirmity, but John tells us, “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?’ The impotent man answered him, ‘Sir, 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.’ 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” (vv. 6-9a). It is interesting to note that the man did not call out to Jesus, but despite the crowd at the Feast and the hundreds by the pool, Jesus saw him. Not only did He saw him, He also knew his condition and as a result proceeded to ask him the most important question of all: “Wilt thou be made whole?”
The narrative tells us how this encounter ended and the application for our lives is tremendously significant. In Hebrew, the pool was called Bethesda, which means “House of Mercy,” and it is here that we see Jesus extending grace to someone who had done nothing to merit it. It is one of many word pictures in the Bible that reflects Paul’s reminder to the early church, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). While in our sinful state Jesus came along, called out to us and extended His grace. Like the man at the pool there was nothing we could have done and nothing we can do to earn this divine favour. However, grace and mercy met him at the point of his need, and Jesus is still capable of meeting all of us at the point of our greatest need.
“Wilt thou be made whole?” The same question is asked of us today. I guarantee that regardless of the nature of our “infirmity,” there is more than enough grace to take care of it.