"Do you want to be well?"
This is the question that Jesus asks the sick man in today's Gospel. It almost seems like a silly question with an obvious answer. The man is sick. He's been sick for 38 years in fact. Of course he wants to be well. But does he really? So, Jesus asks. Jesus is personally asking each of us this same question. Do we want to be well?
Maybe some of you are struggling with illness, perhaps a chronic health challenge that has been affecting you for years. Maybe some of you struggle with anxiety or depression, or fears or worries that never seems to lift. Perhaps there is a kind of sinfulness from which you would like to be delivered and freed. Or maybe you don't really know the area of your life that needs healing. Maybe you feel like everything is fine, and you'd like to just say that all is well and you don't really need Jesus coming into your life and asking questions about it, because perhaps in actuality, it hurts too much just to think about. To you, Jesus asks, "Do you want to be well?"
What might happen if we are fully healed? Sometimes we become so familiar with our struggles that we identify with those challenges and weakness. Perhaps if we were to be fully well, we might not know what to do with ourselves. If healed we might lose a part of ourselves, or become a different person, or we might have to change and live in a new way. And change can feel frightening especially when it's uncertain what new kind of life might look like.
The sick man in the Gospel never actually answers Jesus' question. Wrapped up in the practical details of being unable to get down to the healing water, the man tells Jesus the obstacles rather than clearly answering the question. Jesus doesn't bother with those details nor the man's avoidance of what was asked. "Rise, take up your mat and walk," He says. Jesus knows what he needs and offers him the healing and new life he desires. He offers the same to you as well.
Today may we present ourselves and all we carry to the Lord, asking for patience and courage in all we endure. May we have confidence and trust in His presence and His power for healing and restoration in our lives. Heal us, O Lord. We want to be well!
Mary Catherine Craige is a lover of creativity and learning new things. You can often find her behind her harp, taking an art class, or writing in her journal. You can find out more about her here.