“After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well? The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.” John 5:1-9
December 28, 2014 found me sitting in a booth at Starbucks in my hometown of Nashville drinking a cup of hot tea with my dad. This may sound normal to some of you reading this blog post, but for me, it was anything but normal. I started that day preparing for my family's trek back to Baltimore with no plans to spend four hours talking to him, but God had something else in mind, and that something included an impromptu meeting, at that Starbucks, that changed my life.
Jehovah-Rapha, “The Lord My Healer”, is an all-inclusive healer who wants us to be “made well” in all things, including our hearts, minds, and spirits (John 5:6). Damage in any of these three areas can adversely affect our lives if we don’t allow the Lord Our Healer to mend them.
In my latest podcast, “Do You Want to be Made Well?” I talk about how Jesus met an invalid by the pool in Bethesda. The man had been waiting to be healed for 38 years. Can you imagine that? For 38 years, this man waited on someone else to apologize for abandoning him, waited for someone else to feed and clothe him, waited for the angels to “stir the waters” to heal him of his infirmities (John 5:4). Year after year he sat by the water watching other people who had the ability to move into the pool receive the blessing of healing, and year after year, anger, disappointment, and resentment settled deeper into his spirit when healing for him was overlooked.
But, there was something special about this man because his 38 year affair with anger and bitterness caused an unexpected encounter. While the other blind, crippled, and deaf invalids had to make their way to the pool when the angel stirred the water, this man was privy to a face-to-face encounter with Jehovah-Rapha, his Healer. “Do you want to be made well?” he was asked. And, because he had been stuck in this situation for so many years, he could not even fathom the idea of walking away. Instead of saying, “Yes, Lord, I want to be made well”, he offered excuses as to why he had missed opportunities to be healed. Jehovah-Rapha overlooked those excuses and declared, “Rise! Get up from your mat and walk”. And after 13,870 days of sitting by this pool, the invalid stood up, grabbed his mat, and walked away healed.
How many of us are sitting by our own pool of Bethesda? Not a physical pool, but an emotional one where we’re nursing wounds from past relationships, holding onto unforgiveness, harboring guilt for the things we’ve done to others and ourselves? The people who hurt you have moved on and left you with the bitterness, the anger, and the resentment. And when you look over your life, you realize how much time has passed since those incidents you’ve been unable to release occurred.
Don’t you know that God will show up at your pool to heal you from the issues that have formed a bedrock in your soul to ask you, "Do you want to be made well"? The hurt you experienced when no one believed you had been molested, the pain you endured as a victim of domestic violence, the devastation you experienced lying in the recovery room after having had that abortion, can be eliminated with one simple answer from you: YES.
God asked me the same question on December 28, 2014 when my dad invited me to meet him at that Starbucks. Do you want to finally be rid of your anger over being abandoned by your dad, made well for every time you became the cliché sitting by the front door with your bags waiting to be picked up? Do you want to be made well from feelings of inadequacy, never feeling good enough, and all of the other thoughts one has that didn’t grow up with their father? My answer was yes.
What about you? What is Jehovah-Rapha asking you to release in order to be healed? What experiences buried deep in your bosom is God asking you to relinquish? How will you respond to his offer to exchange those things for his healing and peace? Your time has come. Jehovah-Rapha is stirring the waters in your spirit, and it it time for you let go of the past so you can live with love, joy, peace, grace, and favor. My friend, you have suffered long enough. It is time for you to rise, take your mat, and walk.
Is this series a blessing to you? Please share your comments with me. You never know how your testimony will be open the door to healing for someone else. Join me on Wednesday, November 7th as I discuss praying Jehovah-Jireh "The Lord Will Provide", and click here to get caught up on the entire "Praying the Names of God" Fall Selah blog series.