A Deeper Healing

Bible Reading: John 5:1-18

“Do you wish to get well?”  What kind of question is that to ask of a paralyzed man?   But that’s exactly what Jesus asked the man lying beside the pool (John 5:6).

The man had been an invalid for 38 years.  He was paralyzed and all alone and completely helpless.  He was gathered there with a multitude of other desperate souls—blind, lame, and paralyzed.  Some manuscripts, insert the following after verse 3 explaining what was happening: “waiting for the moving of the water for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred the water: whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had.” 

We are not given further information regarding this matter, but it seems likely that some kind of superstition developed regarding the healing powers of that particular pool.  There were community pools in Jerusalem in that day.  Some were spring fed, which could account for the movement of the waters.  There were a lot of sick people in need of healing.  Desperation can give rise to various superstitions—not too many years ago bloodletting was a common practice!

So, in the Bethesda pool “lottery” the first one into the water won.  The prize was to the swift or the strongest or those invalids having friends who would help them get there first.  But this man had no one to help him get into the water.  When the water was stirred up, and while he was going, another stepped down before him (John 5:7).  The man had been an invalid for 38 years.  For nearly four decades, he had suffered.  Jesus saw the man and “that he had already been there a long time” (John 5:6).  And Jesus said to him, “Do you want to be healed” (John 5:6)?

Not every sickness or malady directly results from sin, but all human maladies are rooted in original sin.  Adam and Eve sinned against God and unleashed a contagion of ills that have infected us all.  No descendant of Adam is untouched in life by the grievous consequences of the curse.  And in response man is prone to look to all kinds of supposed solutions for deliverance. 

“Do you wish to get well?”  There is a sense in which God asks us each that question.  In response to our sin problem, we look around to all kinds of crazy solutions or rationalize or excuse our sin-sourced infirmities with an array of explanations.  A multitude of the spiritually paralyzed gather at the “pool” of superstitious and humanistic solutions to man’s besetting ills.  But if we wish to get well—regarding being cured from sin—there is but one alternative.

Jesus did for the invalid what no one else would have been able to do.  Jesus healed him—compassionately, instantly, and perfectly—and without an angel’s help.  He required no “stirred up” waters.  He told the man to “get up, take up, and walk,” and that’s what the man immediately did (John 5:8-9).  Jesus can do the same with any sin-paralyzed person (Ephesians 2:1).  He is willing and well able to forgive, cleanse, and re-birth them to walk “in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).  It matters not if they’ve been a spiritual invalid for many years or few.  The presence of no external means of support is no hindrance to His ability to heal.  Jesus is more than able to heal us “from all our soul’s diseases.” 

Joni Eareckson Tada suffered a paralyzing injury as a teenager.  She desperately wanted to be healed.  When friends would visit her hospital room, she would ask for them to read from John chapter 5 about the man lying by the pool.  Her sister later took her to a healing conference in Washington D.C., but no genuine healings took place there.  Discouraged and distraught, she harbored a bitter spirit.  But then she cried out to Jesus for help.  She experienced in Him a deeper healing, a healing from sin.  For decades since she has testified to Jesus’ ability to grant such healing to those who look to Him.  She has said, “Don’t be thinking that for me in heaven, the big thing will be to get my new body… I want a glorified heart.  On a visit to Jerusalem not too many years ago, she visited the pool at Bethesda.  She leaned there on the guardrail of the old ruins.  While seated there alone, speaking to Jesus, she said, “Oh Jesus, thank you for a no request for physical healing, because the no answer to a request for physical healing has worked to purge my heart from sin.”  She wanted to get well, but Jesus blessed her instead with a deeper healing!

“Let the water and the blood, from Thy riven side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure, Cleanse me from its guilt and pow’r.”

Rock of Ages


Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon thee, as thy beauty fills my soul,
For by thy transforming power, thou hast made me whole.

Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart.

O how great thy lovingkindness, vaster, broader than the sea!
O how marvelous thy goodness lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in thee, Beloved, know what wealth of grace is thine,
Know thy certainty of promise and have made it mine. [Refrain]

Simply trusting thee, Lord Jesus, I behold thee as thou art,
And thy love, so pure, so changeless, satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings, meets, supplies its ev’ry need,
Compasseth me round with blessings: thine is love indeed. [Refrain]

Ever lift thy face upon me as I work and wait for thee;
Resting ‘neath thy smile, Lord Jesus, earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory, sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting, fill me with thy grace. [Refrain]

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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