“Do you want to be well?”

“Do you want to be well?”

In John 5:6, we find ourselves at the pool of Bethesda, which means House of Mercy. A wonderfully prophetic name. The pool attracts people with all kinds of disabilities, because it is known as a pool of healing, touched by the occasional angel. In the crowd of disabled people is a hopeless man who has been crippled for 38 years. And Jesus seems to have eyes only for this particular man as he lays there, unable to crawl near the bubbling, healing spring of water. Jesus asks him a question that seems so obvious, so unnecessary, as to be almost offensive… “Do you want to be healed?”

On the one hand, the crippled man could be thinking, “What are you, crazy? Of course I want to get well! Why would you even ask a question like that? Do you think I like being crippled?”

On the other hand, I think this was one of the most astute and insightful questions ever asked by Jesus. There are many important questions hidden by that main question. It’s as if Jesus were saying to the crippled man…

Your self-identity has been intimately connected to having this disability. That is how you see yourself. Your disability has probably been accepted as an essential component to how you define yourself. Are you ready to let go of that part of your identity? Are you ready to see yourself differently? Are you ready to define yourself differently?”

Everyone has accepted you as a sad, forlorn victim. And no doubt you have accepted that status. And truth be known, you have grown to kind of like the attention it brings. You have been accepting charity and sad looks and pity for so long, you don’t remember what it’s like not to be a victim. Are you ready to remove your victim status? Are you ready for others to look at you differently, to see you as an equal and not as a mere unfortunate? Are you ready to let go of whatever self-pity you may have been feeding on?

You have not had to take responsibility for your life for so long that it will be difficult for you to be healed. All these years, your friends have fed you, clothed you, and carried you from one place to another. Taking responsibility for yourself will be a foreign experience. You’ll have to work, feed and clothe yourself, and find your own way in life. Are you ready to take full responsibility for your own life, and not be dependent on others? No more reasonable excuses. Are you ready for that kind of independence? Are you ready to make your own life-defining decisions?

You no doubt have learned to be helpless and hopeless. You have developed a lifestyle and mindset that expects the worst. That is not a life of faith. I want this healing to stimulate your spiritual faith, not merely heal your physical body. Are you ready to develop a hopeful faith in God as a result of your healing? Are you ready to acknowledge that the Lord has healed you and that He therefore deserves your trust and faith? Are you ready to follow me?

So it seems that Jesus’ obvious question wasn’t so obvious after all. And when we ask God to heal us or to help us make a major change about ourselves, Jesus is asking the same questions of us. Are you defined by what needs to be healed? Are you ready for others to see you differently? Can you claim a complete identity without your deficits or challenges? Can you reject the victim label and take responsibility for your life? Will you recognize God the Healer as also Savior and Sustainer?

So then, do you want to get healed? Do you want to get well? Are you ready for this?

3 Replies to ““Do you want to be well?””

  1. I think the question was reflecting Christ’s compassionate graciousness and thoughtfulness , just as a doctor or nurse will ask a patient permission to be touched or for a procedure to be done. Since Christ knows the thoughts of men before they are spoken, He obviously knew what the response would be….”Yes!”

  2. Steve, such helpful insights into one of Jesus’ most poignant questions. Thanks for using your gifts to bless others, like me!❤️Ann

  3. I think you nailed it, Steve. What appears to be a crazy question, actually turns out to be incredibly perceptive. I wonder if the man knew what Jesus was actually getting at before He healed him? He certainly did afterward. I’d love to know what happened to that man afterward. Did he actually ever regret being healed? I know people who, in a moment of complete honesty, sometimes have.