Today’s Reading: John 5:1-9
After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids — blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When 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?” The 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.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.
My favorite part about this scripture is Jesus’ question to the man, “Do you want to be made well?” It seems to me that this would be a no brainer. He has been there for like 38 years and Jesus, somehow, knows this. The man responds for the reasons why he has not made it to the water and then Jesus heals him. Simple question, “Do you want to be made well?” Although when I think about it too long it starts to make a little sense. Do we always want to be made well? I think at times maybe we don’t…oh, we may say that we do and at times we want to dwell.
Which makes me think of my role in the whole thing…one of the hardest things to learn as I became a pastor was the reality that I really can’t fix it. When people come to me with hurt and pain and things that are happening, I really can’t fix a thing. I can ask the questions such as Jesus does but that’s about it. So instead of intensely focusing on how I can fix a situation, I need to use that energy to listening intently to the person, give full attention, and perhaps offer a Kleenex or smile along the way.
This became so true yesterday when I met with one of my favorite college students who had asked to meet. And when she told me about a break up there was absolutely nothing I could do except say, “Oh honey, that really sucks,” which might be exactly what she needed me to do. I can’t fix it. I can’t mend her heart that is hurting so right now. But I can reflect that this is a sucky situation and dwell with her a bit.
Then its up to her and God to heal it in whatever form it may take. That was the other tricky thing to learn as a pastor! Healing doesn’t necessarily mean curing or fixing it. I learned early on to pray for healing because God tends to surprise us. That, and sometimes there really isn’t a way to fix something or to find a cure but there are soooooooo many ways to be made well, or to heal. I can’t promise any of them. But I can listen and support and pray for a way to be well.
Julian of Norwich said that “All shall be well” and a dear friend of mine named Carl Gladstone placed that into song…. if you google the song you can download to listen as well but in the meantime here are the words… All shall be well
All shall be well
All manner of things shall be well
Kind Mother In whom I am reborn
Nearer me than I myself
Rid of our sharpest scourge
Deep Wisdom From whose sweet open side
Flows the ground of Motherhood and intellect in kind
Beneath whose wing and breast
Gathers us from scattering
To humble, simple, rest
Close Knower Of all your children’s needs
Make real Great Pow’r,
Great Love bury our sick deeds.
Today….Do you want to be well?