He watched, no, more than watched, he understood. For so long he had been near the water that he knew its characteristics as one knows those of any living thing.
Being there for so long he was able to answer any question put to him about the water and the obvious benefits of being put into the water. He knew from years of observation that immersion (baptism) in that water would give a lame man the legs to walk through life, “Get into the word! And you will be able to navigate life’s challenges!” he would proclaim, and rightly so.
He had seen the water do this for so many during the thirty eight years he lay there that it was undeniably the portion of those who were graced to feel that life giving water all around them.
Those who had their hands paralyzed could “get into the water of the Word” and that which they could not grasp before would be theirs. The relationship they could not hold onto would again be within reach and held with a newness they’d not known before.
The blind, they who could not “see” the truth though it be right in front of them, he could encourage to read, for “thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” and once immersed in the water they would see, they did see. They could see their way home and in time they would forget the man at the pool. After all, they got what they’d come for. The fellowship at the pool only meant something to them while they suffered.
The deaf could “hear” what they’d never heard before when their ears were covered by that water and he, being well versed in the workings of the water would spur them on and into what he knew to be for their good. “Get into the Word!” was his heart cry to the seekers.
He knew that most, if not all, of them would soon forget him. But the fact they forgot him only meant that they were well, but not ‘whole’.
He’d been there, by the water, in the Word, for years, but there was no remedy for him.
How often did he, being experienced as he was, notice a ripple in the pool that told him the water was about to offer healing to the one who got in first?
How easily he could share marvelous stories of his knowledge of the water and how he encouraged some poor soul to “enter in” and then watch them rise up above the water with happiness because of healing.
Did his heart ache for their healing? He knew that they would then leave the pool at Bethesda to go have fellowship with others. This could only mean that they only accepted his company because they had no choice.
Soon as they could leave, they did and the kind words of hope they offered him during his time there went with them.
For over thirteen thousand days he had seen miracle after miracle and had come to know things about the water that few knew, and for what?
He was held back from the water because no one had been to him what he had been to them. God, in His sovereignty had a specific day and time for him.
“Do you want to be made whole?”
Jesus offered wholeness when the only thing the water offered was healing.
It was for the sake of a relationship that the pool at the “house of Mercy” held this man captive. A severe mercy, but a mercy nonetheless.
Many a man greater than I may explain “healing” and with good intentions (or ill) they may expound to you the characteristics of the water in which you may be healed and they will indeed state matter of factly when and how one must enter the water.
They know when the water is troubled and about to offer “healing” for the seeker.
This is done to this day. Men, who have been by the “Water” for years and seem to have an understanding of the way of “mercy in the water”. They too have wonderful stories of the miracles they’ve seen.
If all that you desire is healing, then take it and be on your way.
If your heart longs for wholeness, though you be healed, stay by “mercy” and stay in the “water” until that day when you hear Him say; Do you want to be made whole?”
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A beautiful story...if they could understand. A sad story..because only a few understand. I cried when I read this because I understood and I forget often. I rejoiced when I read this because I understood and remember. Thank you for touching my soul with your story. Bless you. Lori