Reflections on the Waters of Bethesda


This is a very short story based somewhat on the story of Jesus and the Paralytic at Bethesda, in John 5. Some speculative modifications were made for the purposes of My story, not History.

One day, Jesus walked to the pool of Bethesda. At certain times the place could be busy as Jewish pilgrims go through ritual cleansing. Today, the only ones there were the sick and the lame. They were all staring at the water in the two pools there. They believed that at times an angel would stir the water and the first to enter the water in its stirring would be healed.

One man, however, middle-age, disheveled, and obviously lame, alone was not staring at the water— but at the main entryway. When Jesus came in, He saw the man and went up to him and asked,

“Do you want to be made well?”

“Sir,” responded the lame man, “I have no one to put me in the pool. When the water is stirred up and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” The man said this with a touch of bitterness in his voice.

Jesus queried further. “But if you were waiting for an angel to stir the water, why were you looking the other way?”

“A Devil!” the man responded with a force that belied his appearance. “That could be no angel… but a devil! No angel of God would give the gift of healing only to the strongest and fastest. If I want God’s healing, I must look elsewhere, but not in the water.”

“Then why come to the pool at all? Why not go elsewhere?”

The lame man looked Jesus in the face and said in a resolute voice, “I know that if I wait where there is so much injustice, God will come eventually… and, perhaps, He will have mercy on me.”

Jesus said, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.”

At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.

Reflective thought: We can be the hands of God’s mercy and justice by first going where such mercy and justice are not.


One thought on “Reflections on the Waters of Bethesda

  1. Pingback: Midrash Aggadah – Adventures in Pastoral Theology

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