Good Book Club: John 5:1-18
5 After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. 3 In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.
Now that day was a sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. 14 Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.” 18 For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
A reflection by The Very Rev. Kristina Maulden, Cathedral of St. John, Albuquerque, NM
Jesus encounters a man lying by the pool of Siloam, unable to reach the purported healing waters. He has been unable to walk for 38 years. Jesus asks, “Do you want to get well?” Does he? Do we? Do we truly desire to get well? There is living water just outside of our grasp, it seems. Hope, reconciliation, forgiveness are all at hand. The streams of living water promise healing for the whole person. Those words echo through the centuries: Do you want to get well? The man besides the water tells Jesus that he has no one to help him. He was hindered by a physical barrier –his own body and by peoples’ indifference. Or maybe it was pride that kept him from asking for help. What is it that hinders us? We offer our own deeply felt and but crippling excuses. It may be anger or a history of feeling neglected or disbelief that anything can change that builds a wall between us and wholeness. Sometimes our minds are fettered by thoughts of inadequacy, hopelessness and distrust. Our souls may be aching in the darkness, afraid of the light, of peace, and of God. When we are called out and told to walk, we risk losing the comfort of the way it has always been. But, if we dare, what comes next by the power of the Spirit, will carry us to places of peace, joy and unquenchable love.