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?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
In Jerusalem, near the Sheep Gate, there was a pool called Bethesda. It was here that many disabled people used to lie–the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One man who was there the day Jesus walked by had been an invalid for 38 years.
I can relate to that man. I know what it’s like to be stuck in the same place day after day with no help in sight. I know what it’s like to be there so long that you give up hope of things ever being different.
God laid this portion of Scripture before me numerous times over the past few months. I think He wanted to teach me something. I noticed that the teachers expounding on this passage would say that if the man truly wanted to get well, he would have found a way to get in the pool; but I kept thinking to myself (angrily, I might add), “He COULDN’T. He was paralyzed!!” Then, one day, it dawned on me.
Sometimes, in order to get well, we need to depend on others. We can’t do it alone. We have to reach out to those around us and ask for help. We can’t let pride get in the way. We can’t let our independence get in the way. We must ASK. We must RECEIVE. Only then can we truly get well. Sometimes we need to lean on others for support. Sometimes we need the help of others to get us where we need to be. God created us for relationship… yes, with Him, but also with other people. He even said in Genesis, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
I don’t know about you, but I have difficulty sometimes asking for help. I feel like I should be the one doing the helping. I have just as much difficulty sometimes receiving help. I don’t want to be a bother. I don’t want to burden others with my problems. I realize other people have their own issues. They are busy. They have just as much stress as I do. But someone told me once that if we don’t ask for help, how are other people supposed to know just how badly we need it? If we aren’t willing to receive help, we deprive another person of feeling a sense of fulfillment in helping a fellow human in need. We deprive them of the joy of giving.
How about you? Have you been struggling with the same issue for a long time? Do you want to get well?
Teach us, LORD, to receive Your love and blessings. Show us how to reach out to others and develop meaningful relationships. Help us help others. Transform us into a people of courage, people of faith, people with a heart overflowing with love… love for ourselves and for others. Above all, transform us into people who when others see us, they will see Your reflection and want to know You better!! Amen.