The WORD within Mercy
John 5: 1-9
“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 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. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 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?” 7 “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.” 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”
This place in Hebrew means ‘House of mercy’. It was used by everyone, not only the Jews. In fact it was dedicated at one time to the pagan healing god, Asclepius.
How it worked (according to several ancient copies of John, but not the oldest ones), an angel would periodically stir the water and the first one in was healed. How that happened could have been simply the workers at the pool turning some pipes to let water in. However it was, there was one man who never got anywhere near being the first.
“If only I could be first!”
Many will cry that today.
There are many who nearly got there, but didn’t.
In the house of mercy there was no one showing him mercy.
But his problem was he had become focused on the reason why he couldn’t get into the pool and not the fact that he desired healing. He doesn’t answer the question of Jesus, he just gives the reason why he hasn’t been successful.
Sometimes we are looking at trying to solve the problem when maybe we are never meant to be solving it.
All the man needed was the WORD.
The word from Jesus is all that it takes.
John is building this case in his gospel in each and every sign and miracle.
In this place shared by pagans and Jews (the whole world) Jesus demonstrated that the Word is for everyone.
May that be true today for us all. Wherever we go we carry the WORD in our hearts and as we speak it to the world they will indeed receive mercy.