In the Book of John there is a story about a man, ill for thirty-eight years, who laid by the Pool of Beit-zada. Reportedly, the pool had healing properties, and as the story goes, an angel stirred the waters and the first one to get in the pool would be healed. One day when Yeshua (Jesus) was near the pool, the man caught His eye. Yeshua asked the man if he wanted to be healed. I don’t know about you, but if I had lain by a supposed healing pool for thirty eight years and someone asked if I wanted to be healed, I’m hoping I would say “Yes!” Not so with this man; when Yeshua asked him if he wanted to be healed, the man gave reasons why he couldn’t get into the pool.
Historical accounts do confirm that such a pool existed in ancient Jerusalem; the pool’s source was a nearby spring. Beit-zada means “House of Mercy”, and the lame positioned themselves near the edge waiting for the opportunity to be healed when the water was disturbed. The Bible doesn’t give us any details as to what ailment kept this man out of the game of life for so long, nor do we know how he got to the pool every day. Suffice it to say he must have been weak, perhaps lame or crippled, since he told Yeshua that when the waters stirred others beat him to the pool.
At first blush, the story is one of mercy and healing. Yeshua saw the man, knew he had been coming to the pool for many years, chose to show mercy to him, and asked the man if he wanted to be healed. Instead of answering “yes”, the man chose to give reasons why he wasn’t able to get into the pool when the waters were disturbed. Yeshua responded with, “Get up, pick up your mat and walk” (John 5:8 The Complete Jewish Bible)
Contrast this story with the one about the woman with the “issue of blood” found in three of the Gospels. As Yeshua was walking through the streets a crowd of people surrounded Him. A woman who had been experiencing vaginal bleeding for twelve years, and unable to find anyone to help or cure her, was in the crowd. As Yeshua passed by, the woman reached out and touched the “tzit tzit” (tassels or fringes found on the four corners) of His prayer shawl; tzit tzit are a reminder to be thinking of God at all times. The moment the woman grabbed hold of the tzit tzit, she was healed. Yeshua, aware that someone had touched Him and that power had left His body, stopped and asked who had reached out. The woman had taken a huge risk in desperation to be healed, and now had to confess to her actions.
In ancient Israel, any woman with her menstrual cycle or vaginal bleeding would have been considered ritually unclean, and therefore should not be risking touching others; any she touched would be considered unclean as well.The streets were crowded, and by this time Yeshua was recognized by the faithful as a Rabbi, or teacher, and suspected of being the promised Messiah by some. Touching a rabbi, much less the Messiah, could have serious consequences, but the woman overcame her fear and spoke up. She threw herself before Yeshua, admitting she had touched His prayer shawl. The consequences could have been serious, but her desperation and desire to be healed overcame any fear. According to the scriptures, Yeshua turned and acknowledged the woman by saying, “My daughter, your trust has saved you; go in peace” (The Complete Jewish Bible Luke 8:48) When she had touched Yeshua’s prayer shawl, she was healed.
Two healings, two different responses. In the first story, the man offered Yeshua excuses, the second story tells of a boldness and desperation to be healed despite the consequences. The passage of time has changed little; people react today the same as they did in Yeshua’s days on earth. Our attitudes have everything to do with accepting the possibility of healing, or making excuses as to why we cannot. Medical research has shown that the attitudes of people going into surgery has a great deal of bearing on the outcome, in many cases. We are not immortal so nothing can be 100%, but the odds are stacked in our favor when our attitudes are positive.
Why did Yeshua heal the man at the pool despite his offering excuses? Perhaps to show that the choice is ours. At first the man gave his reasons why he had not been healed. In response, Yeshua repeated his command to pick up his mat and walk. The choice belonged to the man; the offer of healing after thirty-eight years had been made. He would either pick up his mat, or he would turn away and remain by the pool until the end of his days. The man chose to pick up his mat and walk away.
The Bible doesn’t give us insight as to why the man offered excuses instead of accepting Yeshua’s healing. People are complex creatures at best, and many continue to cling to infirmity for various reasons. Some choose to remain infirm because the responsibilities of life are overwhelming, and it is easier to have others care for them. Others have learned that infirmity gets them more attention than being well. Still others have been conditioned by the people or circumstances in their lives to believe there is no way out of their infirmity, and decide consciously or unconsciously, to remain captive. Emotional and psychological health have bearing on our ability to accept healing, sometimes requiring the mind to be healed first.
Does Yeshua still heal today? I believe He does; I believe we can be healed instantly and I believe God has given man knowledge, wisdom, and all manner of plant and mineral to provide healing for the body and mind. Today, there are many avenues of healing; medical science, chiropractic science, alternative methods and medicines, even music therapy; each one valid, each a conduit of God’s healing touch. In essence, all healing comes from the hand of God. Modern medicine is dependent on medicines, surgeries, and treatments, the chiropractic discipline offers the body the ability to heal itself through proper alignment of the spine enabling the nervous system to function optimally to channel life to all bodily functions, other disciplines and methods utilize alternative therapies that bring healing not only to the body, but the mind, as well; collective wisdom God has given man to use.
Healing is available. Will we accept it from the hand of God in whatever way it comes to us, or will we offer excuses so that we can remain infirm? The choice is ours…..