To listen rather than reading, click on the link: https://youtu.be/YfO2vSvVO7Y
Prepare to Listen. As you wait in silence, hear God’s words: Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. (Isaiah 55:3)
Prayerfully Read John 5:1-9
1After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. 3In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralysed. 5One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ 7The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’ 8Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.’ 9At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath.
For 38 years a man came daily to the Pool of Beth-zatha (means, House of Mercy) and lay around with many other blind, lame, and paralyzed folk. Jesus saw him, knew he’d been there for a long time and asked, “Do you want to be made well?” The answer should have been one word, yes. Instead, he made a short speech with over 30 words, and not one of them is yes. As he explained to Jesus, there was only one way to be healed—be the first into the waters if an angel stirred them. This was a common, but superstitious belief of many , but it was all the man knew about healing. Jesus ignored his explanation, and healed him anyway. However, since it was the sabbath, by asking the man to carry his mat, Jesus asked to disregard the law (v10). He obeyed Jesus and it immediately got him into trouble with the Jews (religious rulers ).
This man isn’t unusual. It’s easy to get stuck, expecting Jesus to conform to our beliefs and ways. We want to be spiritually healed, but we know of only one way and stick to it. John’s story urges us to remain open to new and surprising ways that Jesus might choose to meet us. It also reminds us that Jesus’ ways, even his healing ways, sometimes lead us into difficulty. But, if we stay with it, follow Jesus to the end, we’ll be fully healed because we’ll learn deeper truths about Jesus and ourselves. I don’t know if that happened to this man, despite his physical healing. I do know that, when he discovered who Jesus was, he instantly betrayed him to the Jews who “started persecuting Jesus” for disregarding the sabbath (v18).
“Do you want to be made well?” How will you answer Jesus today? What do you see about Jesus and yourself?
Respond to Jesus
Give me eyes, O Lord, that remain open to your surprising ways. Give me courage to act your way even when it becomes difficult. Give me faith to keep following you to the end. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world where Jesus heals in his way, not ours.
 Some Bibles include the verse that gives this superstition (v4). It's omitted in the NRSV.
 John uses the term the Jews to refer to those who rejected Jesus. Most often, it refers to the religious rulers.
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.