Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
(John 5:2-6 NIV)
For years I read the story of the paralyzed man in John chapter 5 and criticized him. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why someone would just sit there and wait helplessly for his healing to come given that he was paralyzed for thirty-eight years! Sure the man believed that the pool carried healing powers because it was believed that an angel of the Lord would come down from time to time and stir up the waters (v. 4), but the part that I’ve come to realize and appreciate about him is that he had faith and he was willing to wait. Maybe it wasn’t what many of us would consider the right kind of faith, but the point is he never stopped believing and expecting that one day his turn would come and he would get his healing. How do I know this to be true? Because the next thing you know the Healer showed up and granted the man his healing. The part that sometimes the man – and we – miss is that the healing we’re expecting isn’t going to come on our own time or terms. That brilliant doctor or miracle vaccine isn’t going to be your source of healing. The people you count on aren’t going to be the reason for your success and promotion. God is.
What we can take away from his story is that we should never stop believing and expecting because Jesus will come and He will deliver us. I love the next part of the story. After his healing, the man went to the Temple where he hadn’t set a foot in thirty-eight years (v.14)! It was there I imagine him praising God for coming through for him. I’m not sure how long you’ve been waiting for your miracle, but if this man could believe and expect for that long and still receive his miracle, which we’re still reading and dwelling on to this day, there’s hope for all of us too!