From the Rector

This weekend we’ll hear a story about man who sat at the edge of a ritual cleansing pool (mikvah) for 38 years, waiting to be healed. An understandable response to this situation is to have pity for someone who spent that much time waiting for a miracle, so we might expect Jesus to respond with his typical compassion. And he does, but not in the way you might expect. Jesus looks at the man, and asks him, “Do you want to be made well?” To which the obvious answer is, “Yes!” But that’s not how he replies.

“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.”

That is, he offers an excuse.

I feel like I know that man. I’ve met him in others, and I know that I’ve met him in myself. We can easily fall into the trap of staring our help and healing in the face, sometimes for a very, very long time, without ever doing the things that make it happen. The abundant, transformed life that has been promised to us by Jesus is just waiting for us, but we can become servants to our habits and captives to our excuses.

“Do you want to be made well?” Yes, but my job is so busy right now. I mean, I’m working like crazy these days, but I know that when things calm down, I’ll spend more time at church and with my family.

“Do you want to be made well?” Yes, but I don’t know how to read the Bible, and who has time to pray? Maybe when I retire I’ll get to it.

“Do you want to be made well?” Yes, but I’m only drinking a little extra because things are so stressful. I’ll kick it when things calm down, no problem.

“Do you want to be made well?” Yes, but I grew up in _____ Church, and they really screwed me up. It’s their fault.

And on and on.

We can sit by the side of the pool all day long, wondering why we don’t ever feel the refreshment of a dip in its healing waters, but when Jesus asks us if we want to be made well, the truth is that we’re usually quicker with an excuse than we are with an honest admission that Yes! We desperately want to be made well!

We don’t have to sit around for thirty-eight years, telling ourselves that eventually we’ll get a taste of the abundant life Jesus offers us. God didn’t send his Son into the world only for eventually, but also for today. We can begin to receive that healing, that forgiveness, that wholeness, and it sure helps when we lay aside our excuses, and honestly admit we want to be made well. Because at the end of the story, Jesus doesn’t even bother to help the man to the water. He just tells him to pick up his mat and walk. No hoops. No tricks. No hurdles. No gimmicks.

Just grace.

So, do you want to be made well?