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Summary: (PowerPoint slides are freely available by emailing emile@wolfaardt.com) Looking to Jesus for the miracle you need.

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Journeying with John - It’s a Blast (Jwj-19)

When the Waters Stir

John 5:1-9

This morning’s passage touches a need or a challenge or a dream we all have - it is the dream to be free of the things that hold us back in our walk with God, our pursuit of God, our faithfulness to God and our fulfillment of His purpose for our lives.

It is about how the wrong focus even on a good thing may be the very thing that keeps you from the miracle you are waiting for. And it is about the excuses we sometimes make to justify or excuse our condition.

My title is. “When the Waters Stir” and we are going to read together from that profound account in the gospel of John, and the fifth chapter - John chapter 5.

John 5:1-9 - Read - Pray

I want to try and paint the scene for you.

1. The Pool

The Sheep Gate - The Sheep Market

The Pool of Bethesda - House of Mercy

Tradition has it that the angel Raphael would come and stir the waters

Large numbers of sick and lame people would sit under the five porches each day hoping to be the next person healed.

I do not imaging this place to be the most pleasant or sanitary.

Have you ever been around people who are sick - I mean really sick? Perhaps that is why the put this close to the sheep market!

There is the smell of sickness, of rotting flesh, or excrement, of bodies that have not bathed for weeks or even longer, living in the squalor of their own mess.

Then every now and then an angel would come and stir the waters - and the first in would be healed.

Were there those who sat on the edge of the pool tragically looking in waiting for the stirring?

Did a breeze that ruffled the waters, or a bubble from the natural spring that fed the waters start a frenzy of getting into the water?

What was it like to sit at that waters edge day in and day out, week in and week out, waiting for the stirring?

Some had got healed - but they were few and far between - and I would imaging they were the ones who were healthy, strong, mobile.

I can also imagine that at first when you get to the pool you are all gung ho about the healing, but then after a few weeks you lose the edge, start to loose the dream, and some months later when people come to the pool, you no longer wait expectantly at the waters edge, you have moved to one of the areas on the perimeter, and you know longer really believe you can be healed.

You know it happens, even see it happening sometimes, and for a moment the dream of healing sparks up, but it soon dies as you again settle in to a lifestyle of defeat, of sickness, of tragedy.

Pretty tragic isn’t it.

You see friend, a part of me wants to fly like an eagle, but I get too accustomed to wallowing in the mud. We all have our dreams and visions, but then somewhere along the way life’s realities convince us to settle for less -- or to forget them altogether. We get sucked into the system while our dreams fade away.

Well one day Jesus comes to the pool. He sort of has this thing about wading into human need, you know, and the pool was like a magnet to Him.

And He meets this man.

2. The Man

May I introduce him to you? A man with a 38 year dream!

It seems to me he was one of those who had given up hope of ever really being healed. Oh he believed one could, and had seen other healed, could tell you their stories, and could perhaps tell you how many times he had almost got healed - but he hadn’t.

I wonder if he had a close friend who was healed, a friend that he had got close to around the pool, and who had shared their lives together - and then when the friend got healed he had made promises about coming back and helping him - but his words were filled with sadness, “I have no-one to help me.”

This man knew that his odds of being first were very slim unless someone helped him. Perhaps that is what he prayed for each day, that someone would come to his aid.

Here is what God showed me - in a religion where you have to run faster than those around you to make it, you will always loose. Why? Because in religion you are, whether you know it or not, the crippled one.

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