Do you want to be healed? Jesus asked the man sitting near the pool (John 5:5-15).
Reading that passage, I thought, “What kind of question is that?” Who doesn’t want to be healed?
Can you imagine someone asking you if you want to be healed and you would say, “Hmm, let me think about that.” Rather, I think most of us would answer without hesitation, “Yes, I want to be healed.”
So why does Jesus ask that question?
Perhaps because we may want to be healed in theory, but in reality, we get some benefit from being unhealed. Maybe it is sympathy for our suffering or a familiarity and comfort in our identity as one who suffers. Perhaps it is just that we don’t even know that we are holding onto something that needs healing, let alone how to let go and be healed.
The answer to Jesus’ question might often be a “Yes, but…”
Yes, I want to be healed, but I also want to hold onto some of the identity associated with what ails me, to stick with what feels comfortable.
Yes, I want to be healed, but I do not want let go of all of my anger, resentments and fears.
All kinds of things can cripple us or bind us—old hurts, low self-esteem, insecurity, grief—things we need to work on or through.
That work can be challenging, and the changes might not be evident for a long time. Not every healing happens the immediate way it did with Jesus.
I have wounds that go way back to my childhood—and then additional wounds on top of those. Some are more traumatic than others, and some have been healed just as new hurts occurred. It seems to me that healing is the work of a lifetime.
Jesus desires that we be healed. He showed that many times throughout the Gospels, from healing Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever (Luke 4:38-41) to the paralyzed man lowered through the roof (Luke 5:17-20) to the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years (Mark 5:25-29). He healed people of all ages and from different backgrounds. He brought Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:22-42) and Lazarus (John 11:1-44) back from the dead.
He wants us to be healed and live full lives. He wants us to leap up like the man healed by Peter in Acts 3 so that we, too, are “jumping and praising God.”
Oh such joy! Who wouldn’t want that?
Maybe Jesus would ask follow-up questions like, What is stopping you from receiving healing love? What is blocking the path to living more joyfully? What is one thing you can let go of that will make you freer to give and receive forgiveness?
I have been thinking a lot lately about seeing people as God sees them, and I believe God sees each of us as our best self, and God’s desire is that we grow into that image, to become the person that God created us to be.