Do You Want to Get Well? - aifc

As we continue our exploration of John 5 and Jesus’ miraculous interaction with a man at the pool of Bethesda, we encounter a profound question: “Do you want to get well?” This seemingly simple question posed by Jesus holds deep significance, not just for the man who had been invalid for 38 years, but for each of us today.


The Power of a Great Question

Great questions can flummox us, stop us in our tracks, bring us to tears, make us laugh, ignite our imagination, and even be life-changing. Jesus, the master of asking great questions, demonstrated unparalleled focus on others, especially the downtrodden. His ability to get to the heart of the matter with just a few words is unparalleled. In John 5, Jesus asks a man who had been sick for 38 years if he wants to get well. This question changes the man’s life and speaks into our lives today.

What a seemingly strange question to ask of a man who had been sick for 38 years! “Do you want to get well? But Jesus never asked a foolish question in his life. Obviously, it was important for this man to answer (at least to himself) the question, “Do I want to be healed?”

I know many people today who do not want to be healed. I know because I used to be one of them. Perhaps you do too. They do not want to receive divine help in their problems. They do not want to be helped out of their weakness. They sometimes flee assuming responsibility for their own lives.


I am sure if this man had answered Jesus along these lines our Lord would have gone his way and not done a thing for him. Even the best friends, healers, helpers and Christian Counsellors cannot help somebody who does not want to be helped. One of the things that is true is that Jesus will only ask this question of those who want to be healed. He will say nothing to those who do not.


Some, perhaps, may not have yet reached the place this man had reached. They are not helpless enough yet. They are not ready to give up on human efforts to solve their problems. They are not ready to admit they cannot make it on their own. They are still determined to get into the water when it is troubled.


Reflecting on Our Responses

When I reflect on parts of my earlier life and responses to this question (perhaps you can relate) I find different responses and degrees of readiness to the question, “Do I want to get well?” including:

  •       Denial: “I am very well, thanks for asking. Nothing to see here…”
  •       Coping Mechanisms: “Well, sure, I have some issues, but I am managing them….”
  •       Comparison: “I am nowhere near as unwell as that guy over there…”
  •       Reality: “You know, Lord, I really do have areas that I am not well and need you and the people you place in my life so I can participate with you in the process of getting well…”


The Process of Getting Well

Getting well is often a process marked by significant events, as we see in John 5 and in our own lives. We learn that there are things we may not get well from, such as spiritual, emotional, mental, and relational struggles. These are our “thorns in the side” that for reasons known only to God, may not work out as we would like.

 Ray Steadman notes that we can all identify, to some degree, with the man at the pool of Bethesda. We all need help. We all find ourselves paralysed at times, unable to do what we want or ought to do. This story is included in the gospels to help us understand how God proposes to help us through the ministry of Jesus.


Jesus’ Method of Healing

When Jesus asks the man if he wants to get well, he does not offer superficial solutions or temporary comforts. Instead, he asks three things:

  1.       An Impossible Thing: “Get up.”
  2.       Remove the Possibility of Relapse: “Take up your mat.”
  3.       Expect Continued Success: “Walk.”


Maybe it’s you or someone you know as you read this today. Maybe you have tried to stop drinking. You know that alcohol is ruining your life, your family, your home. You thought you had it under control.  


Perhaps you or people you know have tried to stop taking drugs, but discovered they are addicted. That a habit you began by innocent experimentation has got a hold of you although you want to stop. Maybe you have given up wrestling with an inner problem of lust, of watching pornography.


Perhaps you do not see any hope for your or family or friends whose marriage is in trouble. They’ve tried to correct things, asked for help but nobody seems to care; it only gets worse. Many people are right where this man was, with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness of making any change.


Notice that the first thing Jesus says to do is what the man could not do, what he had tried for 38 years to do. On what basis does Jesus say these words to him? It is important to see that. The man must also have reasoned somewhat along these lines, “If this man is going to help me then I have got to decide to do what he tells me to do.”


That is a critical clue many miss when they are looking for help from God. There is always something God tells them to believe, and do, and act on. This is a word of action. Jesus does not say, “Try to build up faith in your mind. Then what? The Lord did not merely say, “Rise,” he said, “take up your mat.” Why did he say that? I like the way G. Campbell Morgan has put it, “In order to make no provision for a relapse.” The man might have said to himself, “I’m healed, but I had better leave my bed here; I may need it tomorrow.” If he had said that he would have been back in it the next day. But he did not. Jesus said, “Take up your bed. Get rid of it; don’t leave it there.”


In those words he is saying something very important to people who need to be healed: do not make any provision to go back on what you have done. Burn your bridges. Cut off any possibility of going back. Let somebody (a trusted friend or a Christian Counsellor or both) know the new stand you have taken so that he will help hold you to it. Burn your bridges, is what Jesus is saying. 


The third thing: “walk.” Do not expect to be carried — walk. Do the work. Let the right people help you (again, trusted friends or a Christian Counsellor) But not to carry you or do the work that we need to do. Adjust our expectations of otters and focus on Christ as it is Him who gives you the power to rise, Jesus is the One who can give you the power to walk every day, to keep going. That is an important thing to see – you and the Lord. Your eyes not on your friends or on yourself, your eyes on him. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith,” (Hebrews 12:2). That is how this man kept going.


 In our brokenness and areas of our lives where we are not well it is important to remember the story that we are a part of. Your story matters! “ I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11) Said another way, God knows the story he has written for you and it is a good one. What we go through now and in this life is hard and is but a very small part of an eternal story. We have a unique story and we are called up and into the greatest story.


Practical Applications

  1.         Immediate Action: Jesus asks the man to do what he could not do on his own for 38 years. This requires faith and a willingness to act on Jesus’ words.
  2.         Burning Bridges: By telling the man to take up his mat, Jesus emphasises the need to make no provision for a relapse. This means cutting ties with past dependencies and moving forward with no looking back.
  3.         Daily Commitment: Healing is a continuous journey. It requires daily reliance on Jesus and a commitment to walk in the newness of life and into a new story that God has written for him. 


Helping Others Get Well

As we experience healing, we are called to assist others in their journeys. This can be through training in Christian Counselling or providing support to those who need it. Helping others not only aids them but also reinforces our own healing.


You can make a difference

  1.         Training: Consider enrolling in an aifc Christian Counselling courses to equip yourself to help others. Sharing the knowledge and compassion of Christ through counseling can have an eternal impact. 
  1.         Helping others: Making a donation to support Christian Counselling services can provide access to those who cannot afford it. Your contribution can change lives and bring hope to those in need. 



The question, “Do you want to get well?” invites us to examine our hearts and readiness for change. It challenges us to take action, rely on Christ, and help others in their journey towards healing. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, stay connected to the vine, and be willing to help those around us. In doing so, we participate in the process of getting well and contribute to the well-being of others.

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