Surely, those years must have taken a toll upon his faith and any expectations of him reaching the pool in time. The pool in Hebrew is called Bethesda, for having five porches, alcoves or doorways. So there he laid, possibly in a small corner of one of the doorways, with hundreds of others who were incapacitated, blind, paralyzed or withered, and their only hope was getting into the pool at just the right time.
Think about what he saw, what he heard and even the smells as he lie there for such a long time. Those who waited by the pool were broken, their lives were burdened by situations that they had no control over. I wonder how many of them were dropped off at the pool, by family and friends to suffer alone. There must have been days of great weeping and heavy despair, as they all simply waited.
Now, think about where they were... in John 5:2 we learn they were right by the sheep's market. Is it any wonder that Jesus was drawn to this place? Is it any marvel that Jesus was drawn to a man who lie alone for thirty eight years? Jesus approached this man and matter-of-factly he said, "Wilt thou be made whole?" John 5:6 The man's response was just as simple, he stated, "Sir I have no one to help me, when the waters are troubled, to put me into the pool: while I am coming, another steppeth down before me." John 5:7
Oh the love that Jesus must have projected. A love so great that it completely touched the man's heart as he responded in such a gentle manner. He did not reply with a lack of respect or with an awful attitude, he just stated the facts. After waiting for thirty eight years, I am not so sure many us would have responded that same way. Still, here was Jesus, his hand outstretched to a man whose name was not even mentioned in the scriptures. "Rise, take thy bed and walk!"
Again, this man could have thought or said, "Are you crazy, if I could just rise and walk, don't you think I would have. Don't you know that I have been here for such a long time?" No, this was not the case... this man was immediately 'made whole!' There was a change that occurred instantly, that bit of faith had been stirred up... and something so magnificent had happened inside him, that he knew he could rise up and walk!!!
It wasn't just the waters that healed those who came, my friends... it was their faith to get into the waters! This man must have been able to move in some fashion, for he stated, "while I am coming, another steps in before me," see John 5:7. He may not have had all the faith in the world, but he had enough faith to try to get him to move, once the pool waters were stirred.
You may be struggling with a situation that has you down and to the point where you have no answers on your own! But, do you have enough faith to see Jesus, right there in your situation. This crippled man looked up and saw someone, who just wanted to know if he wanted to be made whole. It doesn't tell us that he knew who Jesus was or what miracles he had performed in the past. This nameless man saw someone who cared, someone who was there with him in the midst of his trial. That someone was Jesus!!
My friends, Jesus is there in the midst of your trials also! We may not be able to save ourselves, but God has provided a way out of everything we may be going through! His death on the cross assures and provides new life for us in Him. It is the starting point of our healing and a place to begin walking in the faith we already have, be it great or small!
We are told in Nehemiah 3:1 that the high priest Eliashib and his brethren built the Sheep Gate and set up the doors near Bethseda. Though the spiritual meaning of the sheep's gate is death, it is in the death of self, where we find an abundant and bountiful life, filled with all the hope and confidence in our Lord Jesus Christ! It is significant and no coincidence that the high priest Eliashib's name means, 'God Restores' in Hebrew. Because, our God is in the restoration business! The cross, like the sheep's gate is a starting place, a new beginning, and the source of our strength for the great task of rebuilding our lives.
I am here to tell you that God responds to our grief and despair with great love. Our Lord is drawn to the tears of our heart, as he brings us that healing touch from heaven. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Psalm 18:6
My friend, what keeps you in bondage day after day, month after month and even year after year? What are the deep cries of your heart? I want you to know that there is someone who truly cares. Jesus not only sees you, He hears you weeping in the still hours of the night! In fact, Jesus is drawn to your tears just as he was drawn to this disabled, crippled man.
You don't have to spend your days in hopelessness and despair. You have an advocate in Jesus and He is interceding for you at the right hand of the Father! There is nothing in this world that can keep you from His love and His caring! He is just waiting for you to cry out to Him in faith believing!
And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. Psalm 50:15