I wish I could thank you for telling me about this miracle pool, but it has its share of problems. It seems you were right about one thing; some people do get healed out here. The problem starts with the overwhelming number of sick people. We are all sitting around, waiting for a miracle; and I've been told that only one person can be healed at a time. So far, it has not been me.
Every now and then the waters of Bethesda start to bubble, or splash around, or move in a strange kind of way. Some say it's an angel that moves the water, but I'm not sure what it is. In any case, it happens periodically. When it does happen, everyone rushes for the water. The first one in begins to shout for joy and tells everyone that he or she has been healed. I guess they're telling the truth. I have no reason to doubt them. So, like everyone else, I try to get into the water whenever I see it move, hoping to be healed.
But, Uncle Levi, I'm about ready to give up trying. After thirty-eight years, I'm beginning to believe that there is no hope for me. (Yes. It has been thirty-eight years, two months, and fifteen days of suffering, to be exact.) I'm starting to realize that I'm being foolish to think that my condition will ever change. When the water is stirred, there is usually no one around to help me into the pool; whenever I find someone willing to help me in, the water usually remains still; and the few times I have been able to get someone to help me into the pool when the water is moving, someone else would get there first. So, what's the use? Only a fool would continue to hope for a miracle in my situation. I'm totally without hope.
Some guy just walked up and started talking to me. You'll never believe what he just asked me. He asked if I wanted to be made well ... ha, ha, ha ... what a joke. Let me take a break from this letter long enough to explain to him why I have no hope left.
(The above, unfinished letter was found on the ground in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate.)
My Dear Sister Miriam,
I am at wits end. My husband is beyond belief. He has lost total control, and I have no choice but to leave this place. He has become worse than ever before. May I come over and stay with you?
Please don't think that I'm exaggerating. He has become a wild man. I know you thought that his eruptions were just mood swings, but it has gone much further than that. His behavior has become violent. It's as if he is a different person, or rather, many different persons. He screams hideous shrieks, cuts himself, breaks things, and threatens everyone. The townspeople tried to chain him down, but he broke the chains.
Right now, he's living in the local graveyard less than a mile up the road. They tell me that he's running around naked. I can hear his shrieks all the way over here, at times. I'm afraid that he'll come back, so I need to get out. That's why I am writing you and asking if I can come over for a while.
Miriam, you know that I once loved him, but I have no idea what has gotten in to him lately. He's totally beyond hope.
Even as I'm writing this letter, I can hear him yell. It sounds like a herd of swine. Oh, wait ... I think it is a herd of swine. It did sound a lot like his screams, though. In any case, please write back soon so that I'll know if I can come. This situation is beyond hope.
Your Sister Rachael
(The above letter was found in a broken piece of pottery close to the region of Gadara.)
To whoever finds me here,
I'm writing this letter to let everyone know that I'm taking my own life. Please let my family, the police, my friends, and everyone else know that I could not live any longer. My wife hates me. I am a failure at everything I do. I have lost my home, my job, and my marriage. It's time to end it all. There's no hope left. There is no hope at all. My situation is hopeless.
(The above letter was found in an empty motel room, inside a Gideons Bible, marking a page containing the third chapter of the Gospel of John.)