I remember standing at the edge looking down at what had been the pools. They were just outside of and beyond what had been the walls of Old Jerusalem. We came to an excavated area that went deep into the ground. Below us were areas surrounded by stone walls and steps. The area was divided by individual retaining walls, each also segmented with steps, and each wall surrounding what had been deep pools. We stood on a viewing area and as we stood there, one of us read the scripture that you’ll hear this Sunday.
It is the story of these very pools. We felt God’s presence. Many of us wept at the feelings of healing represented there. These pools had been consecrated as places of healing even in the times before Jesus. The legend was that if the water was moving it was because an angel had descended into that pool. The first to enter that pool would be healed. The power would go from within the water and into the person, and all of those remaining would wait again for the waters to stir. Jesus came to a man who was laying beside the pools, and had been for thirty-eight years. He asked him the question,”Do you want to get well?” Then comes a non-answer. Then comes a healing. And instead of focusing on the controversy that follows I think this Sunday we’ll focus on the healing.
The words spoken by Jesus are as important for us today as they were in that time. First, “Do you want to be healed?” Second, “Get up.” Third, “Pick up your mat!” And finally, “Walk.” There is much to this story. Healing is a strange thing, filled with challenges and possibilities. We’ll be exploring both this week. To prepare please read John 5:1 – 18.