“Jesus said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’”
To be made well. It is something that everyone wishes for when they fall ill or suffer from a longterm illness or condition for which there is no cure. The desire to be made well is a desire that springs from within the deepest parts of our being; we want to be made whole as a human being, to have the ability to move freely and to exercise our free will through the movement of our bodies. The desire to be made well is often thought of in the most immediate terms – in the wellness of the body. The desire is to appear strong, to have the appearance of being a person that is complete and able to do the things that everyone is able to do. But, the first reading of this desire leaves much unattended that is equally important to the well-being of humanity. The desire for wellness can also be thought of as a desire for wholeness throughout the human person. It is a desire to have wholeness not only in body but also wholeness in spirit and in mind. We desire to be complete and to have our dignity restored as a person created in the image of God.
The question that Jesus asks of the man is a question that we might think we should take as our own. It is a question that reflects our need to feel helpful, needed, wanted by others. As we survey the landscape of creation, it does not take long to see the truth of what living in a tragic, fallen creation means. With just a cursory glance of our surroundings, we can identify people that are struggling with the affliction of poverty, disease, malnutrition, physical disabilities, mental disabilities, infectious diseases, terminal illness….
In this scene, Jesus witnesses the same tragic reality of creation. Jesus sees a man that is struggling with a physical affliction. The man sits by a pool intended for healing and wants to move into the waters “when they are stirred up” to find the healing that he desires so deeply. Jesus enters into the scene, witnesses the tragic condition of the man, and extends the grace of God flowing through the power of the Spirit to the man that is in front of him. Jesus enters into the tragic reality of creation in an effort to reconcile humanity to God through that same Spirit that abides in us, adopted children of God. It is the same Spirit that enables us to cry out, “Abba! Father!” that moves through Christ and empowers Jesus to achieve the mission the Father sent him on – to restore the dignity of humanity by walking a life of servanthood that we are able to witness. Continue reading