Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Do You Want to Be Well?

By Melanie Rigney

Along each bank of the river, every kind of fruit tree will grow; their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fresh fruit because the waters of the river flow out from the sanctuary. Their fruit is used for food, and their leaves for healing. (Ezekiel 47:12)

The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. (Psalm 46:8)

Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be well?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me." (John 5:2-6)

Lord, give me the faith and courage to arise from my own pity party… and be the person You desire me to be.

“Do you want to be well?” Jesus asks the sick man. Pretty simple question, right? Pretty obvious answer, right?

But the man’s answer has nothing to do with the question. Instead, he provides excuses for the reasons he hasn’t gone to the pool, excuses having to do with a lack of support and consideration.

Yes, this Gospel reading goes on to address the matter of cures on the Sabbath. But there also is a lesson, a valuable lesson, to be learned in thinking about Jesus’s initial question. The man didn’t respond with “Yes, of course” or even “If it is Your will.” One wonders if he actually heard the question, or if he answered the question he expected: Why aren’t you at the pool?

“Do you want to be well?” Jesus asks each of us. It’s interesting; He asks that so often, even though truly if we want to be well, we know how. But instead, like the sick man, we often answer other questions instead: No, I don’t want to forgive the person who harmed me or my loved ones. No, I don’t want to give up behavior I know is harmful to me and displeasing to You. No, I don’t want to put God first, ahead of myself.

It’s easier to wallow in our sickness and blame others for it. But the road to eternal life begins with a desire and a will to accept the cure the Lord so freely offers, even though it may sting here on earth.

Answer with a resounding yes when you’re asked today if you want to be well. Do one thing that with the Lord’s help improves your spiritual health.

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