I recently read an old passage of scripture that gave me new insight. John 5 describes a man who suffered with an incurable disease for 38 years. At some point in his life, he made it to a pool of water that was known for it’s miraculous healing powers–but he never got in. You see, an angel would come down from heaven, every so often to stir the waters–the first man in the pool would be healed. I used to think that when Jesus came to visit the people at this “Pool of Bethesda,” He was looking for someone who could use a miracle. However, during this read, it occurred to me, that there was no lack of miracles in this place as a pool of miracles was prominently positioned in their midst. So perhaps rather than looking for people who needed a miracle, Jesus was looking for someone who had never capitalized on the miracles He already provided. He found such a person in this man.
Jesus approached the man and I imagine Him saying in our modern vernacular, “Dude…do you WANNA be well?” I guess, underlying this question was another,”Do you just like being sick?!?” “Why are you tolerating this lifestyle of pain, disease, and illness when you got a pool right in front of you?” “Do you like living in the public emergency room?” “What about that mat? Man, you’ve been tolerating a dirty mat for 38 years. How come?”
Surely embarrassed by the confrontation, the man must have looked around to see who was watching before responding, “Errrrrr…ummmmm…I wanna be healed, but ummmmm there was no one…..yeah, that’s it….there was no one to pick me up and put me in the pool–and when I tried–somebody always stepped in front of me—and—and—yeah, that’s it—they got in before I did.”
Come on! Thirty eight years in the same situation and that’s all you can come up with??? I wish he could have fast forwarded about two thousand years, because many of us are full of ideas when it comes to how this man could have pulled off a miracle over the course of thirty eight years. “Just sit in the pool till the angel comes.” “Roll into the pool at the first sign that it’s being stirred.” “Think teamwork–get a friend to help push you in!” “Do whatever you’ve gotta do, but for heavens sake…. don’t live stuck in a condition that you can get out of!”
Like this man, many of us have tolerated things in our lives that could have changed by now. We tolerate extra pounds (my personal favorite), dead-end or unfulfilling jobs, type-2 diabetes, toxic friends, busyness, no money for a rainy day, poor compensation, insults, a life driven by someone else agenda, no vacation time or retirement, or unfulfilled dreams. If asked if we want to change, we’d say, “Yes, of course!”… and then conjure up a reason for why it hasn’t happened. But, if we got to the core of our immobility, the answer would not be that things haven’t changed because we couldn’t make it to our miracle. The real answer would be, “I tried before, but got discouraged–I’ve been too lazy– I don’t know how–I lost confidence–I’ve been paralyzed by fear–I’ve gotten use to this pain and it doesn’t bother me any more–I’m afraid to try, because I don’t want to be disappointed again.” The truth is that we have listened to and obeyed our sabotaging thoughts and over the course of years, we have become exactly what we’ve been thinking.
You might assume that after hearing the man’s answer, Jesus would have told the people in the community to help this man out, or would have called in an angel to come on down and stir up the waters, have the disciples block the crowd and then pick the man up and put him in the pool… or better yet, He would have simply allowed him to touch His garment and be made whole. But Jesus didn’t do any of those things. In a nut shell, He told the man to “Get up—take your mat with you–and walk out of there!” Wow! After reading that passage, I thought, “You mean he never needed the water in the first place?” No. He just needed to DO something about his situation.
The man didn’t need the angel to stir up the water, a friend to push him in, or a healing pool–centered in the middle of a commune. He didn’t even need some divine moment that gave him permission to go for it. What he needed was to stand up and own his life. The moment he aligned his desire, belief and action, he received the miracle that eluded him for so many years.
What miracle are you still waiting for? Own YOUR life. Get up, take your mat and walk into your destiny!