Do you want to be well?

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13 March 2018

In today’s gospel, Jesus heals a man who had lived under the burden of what we can assume was a paralysing illness for a full thirty-eight years.

and when Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had been in this condition for a long time, he said, ‘Do you want to be well again?’

The word here translated as ‘well’ carries the sense of sane, sound and healthy within and without, whole in mind and body.

Interestingly, the guy doesn’t answer Jesus’ question, opting rather to make excuses for why he had never been able to make it into the pool any time the water was disturbed (by a healing angel, so it was believed). Then comes the word of power:

Jesus said, ‘Get up, pick up your sleeping-mat and walk.’ The man was cured at once, and he picked up his mat and walked away.

I wonder whether the man, over thirty-eight years, had grown comfortable with his affliction. Being the crippled guy down by the pool had become the narrative of his life.

Is it possible that we also get too comfortable with our sad state of affairs? What afflicts you? Bad temper? Disordered thoughts? A tendency to wallow in self-pity? Is there an addiction you don’t want to admit you have? Even a physical illness or condition that you permit to define you? What if Jesus were to speak to you those words that are so laden with compassion and power, “Do you want to be well again?” As you journey in faith towards the event that changes everything – the death and resurrection of the Son of God – let your answer be “Yes Lord, by your power, make me well.”

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