Thursday, September 12, 2013

John Community Group Chapter 5: False Waters

When we started this study a few weeks ago, I looked forward to when we'd talk about this particular chapter because I've always loved the story of the healing at the pool. I like a lot of things about this story--the history behind it, for starters. I'll let you ladies include the history and brilliant symbolism about this story in your comments if you'd like!

But I want to zero in on something the man said to Jesus. (You thought I was going to zero in on what Jesus said to the man, didn't you? :) ) I do like that Jesus asks him if he even wants to get well, but the part that won't leave me alone is the man's response to Jesus...because it's much like my own response many times.

"When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, 'Do you want to be healed?' The sick man answered him, 'Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me" (John 5:6-7 ESV).

This poor man had been through a lot, apparently for a long, long time. I imagine him sitting there, his weak eyes focusing desperately on the waters as they are stirred, his heart trampled each time he is not carried closer toward his only chance of healing. Hopelessness was setting in thick and heavy. And suddenly, here stood someone asking if he would like to be healed. Of course he wanted to be healed--that wasn't the issue (well, not in this blog post anyway). The issue was how to be healed. He knew exactly how it was done, right down to what the perfect timing of lowering into the water was and all. If only this man standing before him had shown up a few minutes earlier, he could have carried him down to the pool and all would be well. Jesus could have picked him up, yes, and carried him down the steps. Or maybe he could have brought some of the water up to him--a sort of healing in bed kind of deal!

But that's not how Jesus wanted to heal him.

No, Jesus would not be dipping this man's frail, limp body into the false waters of Bethesda. He came to unravel this man's plans, his dreams, his last hope. He came to, in one instant, change everything he knew about healing: who could do it and how it would be done.

Do you ever find yourself trying to tell God how to do something? I sure do. Recently, some events began unfolding that I was just certain God would use to bring someone I love into a relationship with Him. It was the perfect set up. Everything seemed to link beautifully together; all the details were in precise alignment. How could this not be how God would reveal Himself?

But it turns out, that's not how God wants to do it.

And I have to realize that He has a better way than my way. My carefully laid plans are false waters as well, and I need the one and only Jesus to reveal Himself another way. His way. My hope and prayer for this season of waiting on those I so anxiously want to know Him is that I am patient and let Him work in His timing, not my own, and not my way.

Peace of Christ to you,


  1. Hey Cara, I love the words that God lays on your heart! Thank you for following His leading to do this study and do it in the medium so that many can participate!

    In verses 41-44 so much is said. Jesus tells the Jewish leaders that they do not have God's love in their hearts. That they have rejected Jesus, but accepted others gladly. That they can't believe what Jesus is doing. That they choose to honor each other but care nothing for the honor that comes from God.

    BOOM! They just got served! And that is only 4 verses. Jesus is pointing out that since they DO NOT have God's love in their hearts that it is impossible for them to see what He is doing. They have busied themselves with patting each other on the back that they have lost sight of God.

    How often does that happen to us? How guilty I am of not seeing what God is doing because I am preoccupied with myself. Preoccupied with what has to be done, and often times with how I look to others. But when I am able to put myself aside and focus on Him I can see Him moving. I can see Him working. I am aware of His miracles around me and I am aware of Him! And I am grateful. I am currently in this place in my life and I AM REJOICING. I have been in the other state of mind and have received God's grace to be delivered from it. I think that is why these verses stood out to me so boldly. I have been in that place, and even though it is hard to break free, there is absolute hope in our Savior! Truly nothing is impossible with Christ. So if you are battling with this, please don't be discouraged. There is deliverance. It often comes in the form of the Holy Spirit telling you exactly how you have gone wrong and then you must humble yourself to that knowledge and seek forgiveness.

    So please don't rob yourself of experiencing God. Don't rob yourself of the joy that comes from seeking Him above all else. There is nothing like it...truly.

    1. Alisha, thank you for sharing! Yes, they sure did get served. We all have a danger of becoming distracted with giving honor to one another rather than honor to the Father, who deserves it! Ouch. Glad you shared this! What a great reminder to me it is! :)

  2. Cara, I just love reading these every week. I'm behind on the passage, but know the story well. I find it even better that what I WANTED to say last week coincides with the healing going on this week.

    Last week in Chapter 4, I was moved mostly, not by Jesus healing the man's son from quite a distance... but that this man had traveled more than a day to reach Jesus to ask for the healing of his son - hoping Jesus would come with him, only to be told to go home with a promise that it would happen. What really gets me is that "the man took Jesus at his word and returned home". So many people were needing Jesus to be there, physically, to receive healing. But this man trusted Jesus so much that he went home trusting that what Jesus said was true. As a parent, I'm not sure I would've done that. What an amazing amount of faith!

    I'll try to catch up and give my thoughts on Chapter 5 before you post Chapter 6! Haha! =)

    1. I'm not sure I'd have that kind of faith and trust either, Gwen! I hear ya! I've always loved that part of the story and have been amazed at his tremendous faith.

  3. Cara, like you I am drawn to the man Jesus asked if he wanted to be healed. Sadly, I haven't done the research to add a comment on history but would love to as that appeals to the nerd within. What I was drawn to was the man's response, almost like an excuse. There have been times in my life that Jesus has asked me the very same question: "Do you want to be healed?" My reply has been, at times, an excuse, "yes, but..." Though healing is often desired, it is sometimes what we know and where we are "comfortable" and so though we want healing it is almost inconceivable. Jesus' response to the man's response is to pick up his mat and walk. He has asked me to "pick up my mat and walk". The healing is there, ready to be grasped by the One who conquered death and defeated sin.

    1. Yep. I can find an excuse for just about anything!! Thank you for opening up and sharing that, Reba!