“A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?”
“From where I lay to the healing pool it’s fifteen feet of impossibility. Day after day I lay here. I plan the way to get to the water when it is stirred up. Each time I begin to crawl and every time somebody beats me to the water. Some are able to walk on in. Some have a close friend or family to put them in. I am bereft of help and relationship. I will never be healed. I can think of no other options. In every direction there is only darkness.
How agonizing to be so close yet never make it. Day after day for years on end. I have tried everything; crying, screaming, begging and bleeding but nobody would lend a hand. I will never make it crawling on my own.
I've cursed God. How could I not? God had provided others with help. Heck, God had allowed others to live healthy lives. I can’t remember health. Musing leads to bitterness, bitterness to self-pity, pity to self-loathing and God cursing. Still I focus on the pool and its’ healing water.
Sometimes it takes years to break a man; once in a while it happens quickly. I’ve had a long time to reflect on my sin. Boatloads of sin. Throw in the cursing and I’m done for. Someday maybe I’ll walk. My spirit never will. God will never forgive me.”
Jesus singled out this man. He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” The sick man replied, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up…” “Why are you asking me this? Yes, can’t you see how I long to get to the water? But I can’t!” I say it, gripped with emotion.”
Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” Later on Jesus tells the man, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore so that nothing worse happens to you.”
The final kicker is that the man had spent many years focused on the water and it wasn't the water that healed him. In the full context there’s a larger point to the story. I see a great lesson here in the smaller scale. The man focused on the water and almost missed Jesus. Still Jesus stepped into his life and solved his impossible situation. There’s hope there. Even if my focus is wrong God can walk in and fix my impossible situation.