Resource Scripture passage: John 5:1-16
Walking into the waiting room Bill looked for empty chairs. Shaking his head, he chose a corner section buffered with empty seats around him. The latest medical information was awful. Could he feel more alone right now than at any other time in his life?
He quietly sat on a slick plastic seat while waiting for his family to arrive. It was a sacred silence of fear. There were no pools of water in the waiting room. No one was talking about sin. No one looked like they had recently seen a miracle. However, beneath the quietness of sorrow an intense conversation with God was taking place in Bill’s soul.
On the other side of the hospital’s holding pen for family members, a family was speaking in a Spanish-sounding language. A few family members were taking care of small children. Others were engaged with cell phones.
In another corner, pillows and small quilts covered three individuals one of whom was softly snoring. This small group appeared to be asleep after a night of waiting.
Our brother John describes a similar scene of waiting and intensely wanting a miracle (John 5:1-16). A superstitious and unfounded rumor of that day resulted in afflicted people waiting for “the troubled waters,” (KJV translation of John 5:4).
A man waits alongside this certain pool of water. Suddenly, without invitation, rather unexpected and unknown to most people the Son Man, Maker of Heaven and Earth appears accomplishing what God alone could provide—a non-magical, non-sleight of hand, truly world class, grade A miracle. The invalid of thirty-eight years picks up the mat on which he spent his days and walks around the water.
However, other sick, injured and distressed people were gathered around thatpool. Their expectations of healing apparently remaining unmet. Additionally, in years to come other individuals, suffering from lameness, would hear about the encounter with Jesus hoping to have identical results.
Bill and many others look for more than “troubled waters.” One Biblical writer asks: “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1 ESV). The questions continued throughout the first century and now the twenty-first. We look for a conversation with Jesus who heals our diseases and infirmities while forgiving our sins. We tire of living a lonely life enduring illnesses and sin.
1. Do you recall times when you were not aware of God’s presence?
2. Jesus presents a high-level caution which is recorded at the end of the encounter at Bethsaida’s pool—the caution to “stop sinning” (John 5:14). Do you have an explanation of why the exhortation occurs in this story?
3. As a resource: Joey Mullins, Hezekiah’s Maple; One Man’s Journey with Cancer and Hope,(New York, NY: Page Publishing, Inc.,) 2015.