Every day my family drags me down to the Sheep Gate and plops me down on the sides of the pool of Bethesda. I’m not just laying around, though. I am waiting for the waters to stir. You see, every time they stir, the first one in the pool gets healed. Of course, I’m never the first one in. Problem is, I can’t move so good, and somebody beats me to the water every time. Maybe one of these days I will be first in the water. Someday. Of course, it hasn’t happened yet, and I have been lying here for thirty-eight years. Maybe tomorrow. Probably not, though…
It is about midday, and I am getting hungry. Too bad my family doesn’t pack me a lunch. I will just have to hope that someone takes pity on me and gives me their leftovers or something. Yeah, fat chance of that.
I look up and someone is blocking the sun. I try to see his face, but the sun is glaring right behind his head. His voice is calm and soothing. He looks down at me and asks me one of the stupidest questions I have ever heard. “Do you want to get well?”
Do I want to get well? What kind of lame-brained question is that? If I didn’t want to get well, would I have my family drag me down here every day? Of course I want to get well. I am about to really tell him off when I realize something. Do I really want to get well? Sure, my life is tough, but if I get well things will change. I will have to get a job. People will start expecting things of me. Do I want to get well? Hope begins to well up inside of me for some reason. I blurt out, “Yes, sir. I do want to get well.”
The man looks down at me and says, “Then pick up your bed and start walking.” Of all the out of work comedians in Jerusalem, I have to get this guy. Sorry, pal, take your sick standup routine somewhere else. If I could get up and walk, I would. I have tried so many times, I finally gave up. But something inside is telling me I can do it. What the heck, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I tentatively pull my legs underneath me, pushing my body up on my hands. Here goes nothing…
To my amazement, everything works! My legs are strong for the first time in almost forty years! I stand up tall and straight, then reach over and roll up my bedroll. I turn to look for the stranger, but he is gone. Shouldn’t he have stuck around and gotten some credit? How weird.
Whatever, I am healed! I head down the street, a bounce in my step, feeling free for the first time in years. Then I see them, holy men, coming toward me in a hurry. One of them shakes his finger in my face and yells at me, “What do you think you’re doing? Don’t you know it’s the Sabbath? You can’t carry a bedroll today!”
I try to explain to him that I have been crippled for almost four decades, and now I can walk! “The man who healed me told me to carry the bedroll. He is the one who healed me, so I figured it would be okay. I don’t know his name. He didn’t stick around.”
The holy men leave me standing there. They are muttering under their breath about somebody. Evidently they know who the healer was, and it upset them. Whatever. Their rules and their judgmental attitudes never got me healed.
Later, I was walking, yes, you heard me, walking, home through the Temple. And a man came up to me. I don’t recognize his face, but when he speaks I know instantly who he is. “You look wonderful,” he says, “You’re well.” I ask him his name so I can thank him properly. He says his name is Jesus.
Jesus, what a wonderful name. I will remember him forever. There is something pretty special about him…
For the audio of my message, “No Hairspray, No Cameras, Just Help” based on this story, go to http://remnantchurchonline.com/sunday_messages/No_Hairspray.mp3
Blessings to you… Jerry