“Do you want to be healed?”

John 5:6

Tuesday, 07 July 2020

John 5:5-9

The sick man at Bethzatha curiously does not answer Jesus directly when he asks him if he wants to be healed. He tries to give Jesus an explanation. He tells Jesus that he has been waiting for someone to put him in the pool and that others make it to the pool before him. He is defeated on two levels: there is nobody to assist him – he is truly forgotten – and others get to the pool before him, others have opportunities that he simply does not have.

Notice how Jesus does not ask him any further questions. He does not interrogate the man or ask him why he has been waiting around for 38 years or why he has asked nobody to help him. Effortlessly Jesus says to him: “Stand up, take up your mat and walk.”

Sometimes we know our frailties and weakness. We too know that we need healing on many levels as individuals and as a community. The healing we need can be emotional, psychological or physical. Even though we are aware of our need for healing, we too, like the nameless man at the pool, are not always able to articulate our need to God. But, as with him, God often knows what we want despite our inability to name it. God understands the desires, the contours, of our hearts better than we do. Can you hear the words of Jesus spoken to you “Stand, take up your mat and walk”?

There is another invitation for us in this text. Do we know of someone who, because of circumstance, is unable to make it to the pool of life, has been forgotten and has not had opportunities, someone who seems to be defeated? In what way can we, like Jesus, offer someone a chance – not asking questions or interrogating them? Who is the “sick man” that needs my help today?

Lord Jesus,
You don’t ask questions or interrogate us. You see into our hearts, you know our desires, and you respond to them even when we cannot name what we need. Help us to have the same kind and loving response to others. Grant each of us the grace to give another an opportunity they may never have had.

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
See more from Russell Pollitt SJ
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