In John 5, Jesus encounters a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. For thirty-eight years this man had lived with his handicap, watching other people go about their business. Jesus meets him at the pool of Bethesda, a pool where disabled people would gather in hopes of being cured by being the first one to enter the water each day. Each day he would arrive; each day he would be disappointed.
Jesus asks him what seems to be a rather odd question: “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6).
The answer should be obvious. Of course he wants to get well. That’s why he finds his way to the pool every day. Who would want to stay an invalid if they had the chance of being healed?
But is the answer obvious?
I’m not so sure. Over the years, I have met people who have not only become comfortable with their infirmities, they have grown to like them. Their infirmities have become their identity. To become whole again would be to lose their sense of self, their sense of who they are.
Perhaps they enjoy playing the victim or having people take pity on them. Perhaps they live by the idea that some attention is better than no attention. Or, even worse, maybe they don’t even realize they are doing it.
Even still, Jesus asks us the same question: “Do you want to get well?”
How would you answer him? Do you really want to get better? Do you really want to find peace or overcome a habit or gain victory over an attitude?
Sadly, many people are content to limp along when God wants to enable them to run. He wants to set them free and yet they choose to be chained to the past or to a destructive pattern.
“Do you want to get well?”