After this – (there sure are a lot of time references in John: after this, now, the next day, … I keep having to look back. He’s still in Cana so it must mean after his encounter with the official.) So what’s next? Another party. These guys have more feasts than the French have vacation! So He’s off to Jerusalem.
Jerusalem had all these entrances into the city called “gates”. The sheep gate maybe was the Sheep Entrance and I imagine it had some not too pleasant traffic- noisy? smelly? Watch your step?
Near the gate is what appears to be a very nice pool area, roofed for shade and places to relax around this “magic” water. But on closer inspection the loungers are all “invalids” – the blind, lame and paralyzed. Uncomfortable company to be around maybe? …probably avoided by many. Of course Jesus would come in this way, right?
In this vast multitude of invalids Jesus spots this one long-timer who has been here at the magic pool forever hoping to win the “get healed” lottery. Sounds like the daily winner is whoever jumps in first when the water starts swirling.
Can’t help but think of this contrast: you’ve got this “magic”, still, retention pond that stirs so you might think it’s not stagnant and it offers healing to one lucky winner per day. Then you’ve got Jesus, Mr. Living Water, who just told the Samaritan women that “whoever” had a drink of this would never be thirsty again! No brainer!
Jesus asks the guy if he wants to be healed. The paralytic tells him why things had not worked for him. Jesus tells him “get up, take your bed, and walk.” AT ONCE the guy was healed and did just that!
Oops! It was the Sabbath. The Sunday School police were out in force. Now you’d think these were the guys looking out for your best interest, right? So they go ballistic and jump for joy that the guy is healed …. Not so much! They are concerned with the ordinance 9.8.1 of the penal code against bed carrying on Saturdays. And just who was this guy who had acted like he could give the paralyzed man permission to trash the law? Somebody’s toes are hurting. When the man couldn’t tell him who had done it and Jesus had slipped out the back, they were left polishing their badges and hoping it didn’t happen again.
Interesting that Jesus caught up with the guy later at the temple and gave him some encouragement on how to use his new found health – “sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” What could be worse than being an invalid for 38 years? Answer: missing the point about who he had encountered.
The healed man goes back to tell the Jews it was Jesus that healed him. Hummm? Wonder what he was thinking? Giving praise to his healer or getting off the hook with the SS Police? Either way God’s agenda is moving forward.
The God of the Universe is so interested in one person He comes right in to the mess, unveils the cheap imitation and hands out the genuine article for FREE.
Where am I still laying by the magic pool waiting when I could be drinking from the living water? Or when am I more concerned being seen as “large and in charge” than seeing the amazing work of Jesus right in front of me?
About the World?
I think of that verse that says God makes it rain on the just and the unjust. Blessing can happen whether one believes or not. But there will be unique meetings where a choice is offered – a blessing for this life can be an opportunity to see the greater gift of eternal life.