After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath (John 5:1-9).
There is no doubt that Jesus came to be the Savior for the whole world. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. All that believe in Him and confess Him can be saved. However, please note that every “whosoever” represents one person.
Jesus is concerned about the one person. He is the Savior of the world, but He is a personal Savior also. Keep this in mind as we look at His dealings with one person- the man at the pool of Bethesda.
Look at this man’s surroundings. The pool area was called Bethesda which means “House of Mercy” in the Hebrew language. This was literally a public infirmary. Bethesda had five porches- or arches. There were covered collonades that protected the people from the weather. An angel periodically troubled the water- the first person in was healed.
Look at the man himself. He was afflicted for thirty-eight years- a long time in our eyes, but no time at all in the eyes of the Lord. “… one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (II Peter 3:8)
This man was virtually friendless. He said, “I have no man to put me in the pool.” He was lonely with no one to show any empathy toward him. His situation was very similar to the Psalmist’s words in Psalm 102:7: “I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the housetop.” He was in the “House of Mercy” but no mercy was to be found- he was not healed.
Let’s compare this man’s situation to the situations we sometimes find ourselves in:
We suffer weeks, months and years- often needlessly.
We may not be friendless, but only God can help us in many situations. We are in the House of Mercy, under the covering of His church, but we are not made whole.
Like this man, we have looked for the healing, but the Healer is looking at us.
Like this man, the Lord wants us to answer this question- “Will you be made whole?”
Notice the question is not just, “Do you want to be healed?” The question is not just, “Do you want to feel better?’ The question is, “Do you have the desire in yourself to be made whole?”
What about you? Do you want to be?
Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.
Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter — Breanna.
Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.