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Sometimes healing can come from an unexpected place.

Jesus and the Pool of Bethesda

There is an interesting story in the Gospel of John (Ch 5) in which Jesus heals a disabled man. In Jerusalem, there was a pool called Bethesda. This pool was thought to have supernatural healing powers. The story was that from time to time, an angel would come and stir the waters of the pool. The first person to get into the pool after the waters swirled about would be cured of whatever disease or sickness they had.

I bet this pool was probably the focus of some major controversy. I imagine many people thought the “healing powers” of the pool were a bunch of BS, similar to how some of us might view purchasing a trinket with “healing powers” on late night religious television. But there were other people who believed in the healing powers of the pool. The text says a great number of disabled people—the blind, lame, and paralyzed—all waited by the pool, eagerly hoping the waters would be stirred and they could be healed.

Then we meet the man who is the focus of this story. The text doesn’t say exactly what the man’s ailment was, but it does say he had been an invalid for 38 years. Enter Jesus:

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked (John 5:6-8).

Healing Might Come from an Unexpected Place

Sometimes healing might come from an unexpected place.

The man in this story had been struggling with his affliction for a long time—38 years. The story doesn’t say how long the man had been waiting by the pool, but I imagine he had been there a long time. He had put all his hopes on the “pool method” of healing. But his healing came from a different place.

Sometimes if we have been dealing with a problem for a long time, we might get stuck in one way of thinking about how the problem might be solved. We might be focused on that one method even though we have been trying it for a long time and it hasn’t been working.

Be Open to Something New

My encouragement to you today is to be open to the idea that your healing might come from an unexpected place. It might be a traditional method, such as a medical doctor or personal therapy. Or it might come from someplace else. I have seen people’s lives changed from an experiential retreat focused on personal/spiritual growth. I have known people who read something in a book or blog that was so perfectly targeted to their situation, it set them on a different life course. I have known people who point to God or a church community as the source of their healing.

I have also known people who make a small change in their daily life and it starts a whole cascade of positive changes. I had a friend who had been feeling down for a long time. One day, he took the difficult step to start working again. It wasn’t his dream job, but he started the process of becoming independent and feeling proud of himself. I met a woman who was depressed and lonely, and she took the step to join a club at the university she was attending. She made a friend, and that experience started a whole set of changes in motion that improved her mood and outlook on life.

Don’t get locked into doing the same thing over and over again. If you have been dealing with something for a long time, and it hasn’t gotten better, could you be open to the idea that your healing might come from an unexpected place?

Discussion: What is one issue that you have been dealing with for a long time, and you just don’t seem to be making any progress? What techniques for healing and growth have you tried already? Are you open to the idea that healing might come from an unexpected place? What is one “unexpected” thing you could try?

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