Summary: Christians do not have to go to Jerusalem to the Pool of Bethesda for healing.
Text: Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17).
God is always at work in the life of each of us because we are His children. He knows our needs, our hurts, our feelings, our desires, our whereabouts, and our thoughts. He knows when we do wrong and He knows when we do right. He knows our sinful acts as well as our pure acts. He knows when we are in a difficult position and He awaits our request for assistance.
Story: “Our God Still Able!”
An officer in the first World War gives this account of God’s willingness and ability to save men from shot and shell when they pray. A German machine gun crew had their gun trained on an angle of our trenches where troops frequently passed back and forth and the casualties were many.
As a last resort volunteers were called to storm the gun in the open. Fifteen men volunteered. They themselves could see at a glance that most if not all of them must die. Even if they succeeded in silencing the gun they would scarcely escape the hail of lead that would follow them back to their lines.
The young officer appointed to lead them, a friend of the one reporting the incident, before going over, addressed the volunteers as follows: “Men, I am a Christian. Before every undertaking I pray. Those of you, who are willing, kneel with me and pray about this one.”
Then he took off his helmet, knelt down and prayed, asking God to spare their lives, but if any must go that their souls might be saved. When the officer rose from his kneeling position he noted that every man had knelt and placed their helmet on the ground in front of them.
Then they climbed out of their trench and raced toward the German machine gun nest while a hail of lead and steel flew above their heads. They overcame the machine gun crew, tore up the gun and took it with them as they ran back to their trenches. All the men returned and not one of them suffered a wound.
To the men looking and watching, it was a miracle indeed. None of them will ever say that the day of miracles is over. God has not withdrawn His “exceeding great and precious promises.”
God is the same today as He was then and He will be the same tomorrow. Jesus said to His disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9).
It doesn’t make any difference when we ask, seek, or knock because God is always with us in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He resides within the innermost chambers of our heart. His hours are not 9 to 5. He is not closed on holidays. You will never get a busy signal when you call upon Him. He is available to help us in our time of need.
When Jesus was conducting His earthly ministry, He was always available to those who needed help or assistance and He was always in the right place at the right time. Our Scripture reading tells us that “Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews” (John 5:1).
It is true that there were three feasts held in Jerusalem that all male Jews were required to attend, but this particular trip was going to bring a blessing to someone in need and open the eyes of many other people present. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, He went “….by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches” (John 5:2).
The Pool of Bethesda was very important to the people suffering from various infirmities; such as the inability to see, a leg or arm that was lame, or paralysis in some part of their body. The name Bethesda means “Place of Outpouring” or “House of Grace” or “House of Mercy.”
The water was viewed as the God’s mercy being extended to those who were sick or diseased. According to Scripture, “For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease of he had” (John 5:4).
It is interesting to note that John mentions only three physical conditions in verse 3. Only these three are stated because people with these conditions were least able to help themselves into the pool. The people with these ailments depended on assistance from someone nearby. The blind could not see when the water was stirred, the lame probably had difficulty moving quickly, and the paralyzed were unable to move.