In a book of illustrations called “Stories of the Heart,” I recently came across a story attributed to Kay Arthur. Apparently she was speaking and traveling in Israel. She was in Jerusalem and shares these thoughts: “My mind races to a man sitting at one of the gates surrounding the Old City of Jerusalem.
He was happily conversing with other beggars until a foreign tourist came by. At that point, all conversation ceased and a hand was lifted as dark eyes silently began to beg for alms. The other hand pulled up a pant leg to make sure that the already exposed ulcer, bright pink, glazed over with white purulent patches glistening in the sun was not missed.
My nurse’s heart brought my feet to a halt. I wanted to bend down and shield the open wound from the dust sent flying by the traffic. The wound should be washed, medicated, and dressed by someone who cared. If unattended, it would only eat away until it reached his bone and then he could lose his leg.
But as I stopped, my friend gently took me by the elbow and propelled me toward our destination. She then proceeded to tell me that this man did not wish to be made well. Medical services were readily available to him. But, he made his living off his wound. He would rather merely sit down in the dirt of Jerusalem and receive pity along with a few shekels than deal with the complexities and responsibilities of being a citizen of Israel.”
That story made me think of the passage in John 5 that took place at a pool near the Sheep Gate. All kinds of disabled folks sat around that pool waiting for the water to be supernaturally stirred and healing to take place. There was a man who had been an invalid for 38 years sitting there. When Jesus saw him and realized that he had been sick for so long, He asked him the key question: “Do you want to get well?”
You see, this sick man was in a rut. His illness had become a way of life. His life choices were all being determined by the sickness. He was trapped by his own pain. And then the question: “Do you want to get well?” It seems like such a silly question. People who suffer surely want to be well. But in reality, that isn’t always true.
Like me, you may know someone who seems to almost revel in their sickness. Perhaps their illness (physical or psychological) has allowed them to avoid responsibilities or maybe to remain dependent and ignore the demands of life.
This week might be a good time to remind them (and maybe ourselves) of that key question: “Do you want to get well?” I am convinced that when given with a hearty shout, the answer “Yes” can propel all of us towards real health… spiritually and physically.
Medical care is readily available to most of us. And spiritual care is definitely extended by our Savior. Let’s all shout a resounding “Yes” this week and receive the healing that Christ offers.
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel