Stayed with 2 passages today. One about Bartimaeus, which came during Lent. Another about Jesus healing at the Bethesda pool.
I don’t have great insights; I dare not say I do.
But there were things that stood out for me. And questions I asked.
Not in a hurry to have to “understand”.
Perhaps all I need to do for now, is sit with them and Him.
And know that He knows. He really knows.
Maybe simply sitting, is already a step.
Paralysed by the Pool
“Waiting for the moving of the waters”. How long, deferred hope? How near yet far, the miracle of restoration? How saddening, the sight of deformity and ‘un-wholeness’? How abandoned, those who were perpetually left behind because they were not quick enough to be the first in? …
“Do you wish to get well?”. The sick man wanted to be well. The sick man believed without doubt that if he got into the pool, he would be well. How can a person continue believing resolutely, after 38 years? I haven’t even lived 38 years.
Jesus told him to get up and walk. And he did. “But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away…”. He believed and did as told, even though he didn’t know who Jesus was. Why? What made him believe Jesus? What did he see in Jesus’ eyes and demeanour? Did he perhaps sense in Jesus’ words – authority, unspoken understanding of the real issue… and permission to do the ‘impossible’?
“Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore”. How does Jesus come and ask me to “get up and walk”? What might Jesus be asking me to “get up and walk” away from? And what is my response? Will I sin no more?… Walk away. Be paralysed no more.
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Begging for Sight
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Unlike the man at Bethesda, Bartimaeus knew who Jesus was. He knew Jesus had the power to save, to pardon.
“What do you want Me to do for you?” The sick man wanted to be well. And he said so. He asked for the irreversible to be reversed. How many times before had Bartimaeus spoken of this desire, only to be shut up, laughed at, or viewed with helplessness?
“Go; your faith has made you well.” See. Be blind no more, and follow the One whose light causes everything else to ‘grow strangely dim’.
Both had every reason to be in despair. Yet both clung to hope, however they understood it. Be it lying by a pool, watching scores being made well; or sitting by the road, watching throngs walk past with hardly a glance… daily thinking, however faintly, “When will my miracle come? When can I be ‘normal’?”
Both carried burdens in their bodies and hearts that could not be easily explained (nor are they described in detail for us in the Bible). What we are told, is that the sick man at Bethesda was struggling with sin(s) of some kind. As for Bartimaeus, the way he felt and understood his infirmity caused him to cry for “mercy”.
Both had their heart’s desires examined by the Lord, albeit in different ways. One was asked point blank; the other, questioned in an indirect way. But there was a similiarity: both were being prepared to receive their miracles.
Before the Lord, there is no hiding. A question demands an answer.
Remember, the Lord doesn’t need to ask questions to know anything.
He already knows.
How long we have held hope.
The size and shape of our wrestles.
How and when He will act.
The questions are solely for us, just as the true answers lie with and in Him only.