Today’s Gospel: John 5:1-16
John sets the scene beautifully for us, introducing us to the Pool of Bethesda with its five porticos. He tells us of crowds in this place of healing – of the sick, the blind, the lame and paralysed, waiting for an angel of the Lord to disturb the water so that, providing they get into the pool first, they may be cured of their ailment.
John introduces us to a man who has been ill for thirty-eight years; such an excruciatingly long time to suffer. Jesus asks him if he wants to be well, but the man laments to Him that when the healing event at the Pool of Bethesda happens, nobody cares enough for him to carry him into the pool, and when he tries himself, he is always beaten to it. Here the man is appealing for Jesus to be the one to carry Him to the pool, unaware that he is talking to Christ. Jesus, rather than carrying the man to the pool, does what He knows to be best and commands him to pick up his sleeping-mat and walk – which he subsequently does, cured of his illness.
Sometimes, we turn to God with the wrong goal in mind. The sick man at Bethesda wanted Jesus to help him get to the pool, not to cure him. We all too often, in our suffering and desperation, turn to God looking for what we think we need, when rather we need God Himself. This Gospel passage serves as a reminder that we need to recognise God in our lives, and that we need to get better at placing our full trust in God. We need to learn to hand everything over to Him, safe in the knowledge that as our loving Father He will do what it best for us.
How often in my life am I like the sick man at Bethesda and rely on myself or others, when really I should rely on God?
Lord, help me to learn to bring everything to You: my hopes, dreams, fears, worries, stresses and joys. May I always trust in Your will for me. Amen.
Copyright 2017 Claire Howell
I’m Claire, I’m 28 and I live in Scotland. I’m a teacher of Religious Education in a Roman Catholic secondary school and get to spread the Gospel daily to 12-18 year olds.