Summary: Jesus is the Provider of all our needs for body, soul and spirit. He is the complete Savior for every need.


John 5:1-17

Holistic health is a relatively new field of health practice. Not only do the practitioners stress physical health but also emotional well being. All of us should realize we cannot separate our lives into separate compartments because one part affects another. Unfortunately, many of the holistic health advocates are also advocates of Eastern religions and encourage such things as transcendental meditation and practicing yoga. This is an example of trying to accomplish something good using the wrong means. We humans are very complex beings. We do need to take care of the physical, mental (intellectual and emotional), and spiritual parts of our being. Most of us think the role of the church in our lives is primarily involved with our spiritual well-being; however, if we look to Jesus for direction, then we need to see the church also involved in physical and mental well being. A lot of the ministry of Jesus concentrated on physical needs of people and He helped them develop the right emotional environment in which to function. We can see elements of this in the situation in which Jesus was involved during one of His visits to Jerusalem.

Taking the Initiative – 5:1-9a

1 After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. 3 In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; 4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.] 5 A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” 7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” 9 Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. John 5:1-9a (NASB95)

Most of the ministry of Jesus took place in the area around the Sea of Galilee. He would go up to Jerusalem for special festivals such as Passover and at other times when there were needs. In the same way, we may need to interrupt our routine to be at another place for a particular ministry need.

You can picture in your mind the scene there. This pool was apparently spring-fed and many people in the area believed that there was healing power in the water at certain times. These times were associated with turbulent activity in the water. The people believed an angel was responsible for the movement of the water and the first person to get into the pool during such times would be healed of whatever infirmity he had. [Commentaries point out that the part of the angel disturbing the water is not in the more reliable ancient manuscripts and that the disturbance was likely caused by intermittent flow of the spring.] Whatever the explanations, people had been healed at this place based on what they believed. If there had not been some incidents of healing, then people would not have continued to come there. There are places even today where people go expecting to receive healing from various infirmities. Lourdes in France and Guadalupe Hidalgo in Mexico are two of the better-known shrines. Some are healed or experience improvement from their ailments. Usually, such healing is thought to be related to the person saying the right prayers or thinking the right thoughts or something that they must do.

It may just be coincidental that Jesus had just come from an encounter where He had declared that He was the provider of Living Water and now He is seen at a place where there was water that seemed to be alive and was thought to possess healing power. Viewing these two occurrences together, then we could conclude that the Living Water that Jesus provides which is to flow out from every believer has the potential to bring healing to those who are in need.

The infirm man Jesus encountered was thinking he had to do something for his healing to become a reality. But he was not able to help himself. This is the condition of the world that is lost in sin. There is no way for them to help themselves out of the condition in which they are in. Most of the time people think they must do something to bring about wholeness.

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