“After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there was in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.”-John 5:1-3
Bethesda! This pool, located near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, became a gathering place for the sick, blind, lame and paralyzed. John 5:4 gives us some insight to why this pool became so popular among the sick and the lame:
“For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the waters; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.”
Perhaps this is why the pool was given its name. Bethesda can be translated two ways: House of Mercy or House of Grace. This duel meaning was likely very appropriate as the location was seen as a place of suffering and disgrace because of the rampant sickness. Multitudes had come to throw themselves on the mercy of God as Bethesda became a beacon of God’s grace due to the healings that had taken place.
Among the multitude was a man who had been sick for 38 years:
“Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to Him, “Do you want to be mad well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sire, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”-John 5:5-7
Jesus saw the man lying there and knew he had been in that condition a long time. Somebody reading this today nears to hear that! Jesus is aware of your pain. He is aware of your physical needs. He knows exactly how long you have been struggling in that condition!
Today, He is posing the same question to you that He posed to this man: “Do you want to be made well?” You would think, that the answer to that would be a resounding…Yes! However, some people have so identified themselves with their sickness that they are not really looking for healing as much as they are relief. Others, due to financial reasons don’t want to be healed and others don’t want to give up their sinful lifestyle to maintain it. Others, are simply waiting for the conditions to get just right before they will come forward to be healed. If you wanted to be healed, you had to go to the Pool at Bethesda in Jerusalem, the one near the Sheep Gate, then wait for the angel to come, stir the water, and the first person in was healed. You couldn’t just get in anytime you wanted, or into any pool you wanted; the conditions had to be perfect.
Even after Jesus, the Great Physician, showed up, all eyes were focused on the water. They were watching and waiting for the conditions to be right, while the Healer was standing in their midst.
I wonder how many people today forego receiving their healing because they are waiting for the conditions to be right! They need the music right, the message to be right, the kid’s to behave, and right pastor to pray for them, and then they say, “I’ll receive my healing.”
Can I tell you that the perfect condition for healing is the one in which Jesus is present:
“Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up you bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.”-John 5:8-9
Bethesda was not called the House of Mercy and Grace because of what was taking place there, but rather who was present there! Jesus!
I wonder, had they known the Great Physician was present, would they have bothered any more with watching for the water to be stirred or would they have thrown themselves on the mercy of God!
Can I encourage you today! Jesus is present. Which means the condition is right for healing! The Great Physician is in the house, which means that the grace of healing is available if you will throw yourselves on the mercy of God.
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church