Do you want to get well? | John 5.6-7
When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?” The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.” John 5.6-7 | ESV
Among all those needy faces was one with lifeless, impotent eyes revealing the heart of one clearly resigned to his fate. And while all eyes were fixed on the pool for the first sign of movement, Jesus’ eyes were fixed on this one. Stooping close to him, Jesus asks quietly, “So. You want to be healed and whole?” The resigned man doesn’t even blink nor does he go to the trouble of looking at the one stooping to speak to him, mumbling, as if it’s a line he’s memorized and recited a thousand times: “Sir, I have no one to help me get into the water when it bubbles up; someone always gets there first.” MAV
“Do you want to be made well?”
In the context of these five porches with their population of blind, crippled and lame, such a question could either seem absurd or insensitive, evoking either a “duh!” response or “Excuse me!?” But it is perhaps the most pertinent question of all – and not just for incapacitated people who have given up long ago.
There is a cost for being healthy. John Sanford comments in his commentary on the Gospel of John (Mystical Christianity: A Psychological Commentary on the Gospel of John):
There was something about this man that caught Jesus’ attention, for he was the one among that many people there to whom he spoke. The question he addressed to him is pregnant with meaning: ‘Do you want to be well again?’ I have emphasized the word ‘want’ because the Greek word translated as ‘want’ is thelo, which means to will, to exercise conscious volition. The question Jesus asked the man does not involve simple desire or preference, but will and choice. It is a consciousness-raising question, that is, if the man had reflected honestly on the question he could have arrived at some important insights about himself…For thirty-eight years this man has been by the pool and has not yet made it into the water! The implication is clear: the man does not want to be cured: he prefers the suffering of his disease to the rigors that a healthy life entails. For, of course, the price of being healthy is to live a healthy life, which for most of us means taking on work, responsibility, and life’s tensions and burdens.
Jesus looks beyond the lifeless limbs, the lifeless marriage, the lifeless career, the lifeless circumstances that just seem to go on and on and on will no one give me a break – to the lifeless heart in the midst of us, his question, hopefully, shocking our lifeless heart awake.
“Do you want to be made well?”
What “hurts, habits, or hang-ups” have you resigned yourself to? Who or what are you blaming for not helping you move forward? How would you answer the question, “Do you want to be made well?”
Abba, awaken my heart from limp resignation and lifeless surrender. Deliver me from an impotent, resigned spirit. Fill me with a desire to move forward to the wholeness you intend. Through Christ.