“Do you want to get well?”

John 5:1-7


1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”



The Bethesda pool. Bethesda in Hebrew means “House of Mercy”. The pool at Bethesda was a five sided pool that historically the waters would become stirred at a different times, and the people believed that an angel was stirring the water, and the first person who entered the pool as it was being stirred, would be healed of their sickness/ailment or disabilities.


It was a contest of sorts, to see who could get into the pool first to receive healing, because it only worked on the first person in, or so they believed. Some people with minor ailments could get in quicker than those with more debilitating ailments.  


So here we see a man who had just that. The translation says invalid, the original Greek says Astheneo, which means feeble, weak, or diseased, but we get the sense that the man has trouble walking.


Jesus sees him and says “Do you want to get well?”


What an obvious question! Of course he wants to get well! 

Jesus already knows the answer, he can see why this man is here.


This man was at the pool all of the time, trying to get in before someone else when the angel stirred the water.


The man, looking at Jesus and not knowing who he truly is says that he can’t get in before someone else does. He’s too slow. 


He’s frustrated. He believes this is the only thing that can heal him, to get into that pool before someone else does. To be the first one in the pool is his only hope to relieve this disability he’s suffered for 38 years from.


He does not see the hope that is staring right at him. 


Then in the next verse we see Jesus response to that idea.


8 “Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked“


Jesus healed the man with 2 words – “get up!”


 After all of this time of the man waiting for his chance to get into this pool when the water moved. Every day waiting thinking “maybe I’ll be the only one waiting today”, “maybe I’ll be the first to see the water move and I’ll have a chance”.


Jesus challenged this mans idea that the pool was his only hope. Because The pool was the only way in this mans mind that he could be healed.


When we pray for something, a lot of times we can get that same tunnel vision in looking for an answer. Whether it’s a physical ailment, something spiritual, or an intercession for someone else.


We think there are maybe one or two outcomes for how a prayer can be answered, and then God answers in a way we would never have conceived in our minds, and we might completely miss it!


Gods answers can come in ways we can never expect. We might be waiting on one answer, but miss the one staring us in the face saying “Do you want to get well?”

Jeremy Wright
Youth Director
Selma Christ Church