Meditation: Is there anything holding you back from the Lord's healing power and transforming grace that can set you free to live in wholeness, joy, and peace with God? God put into the heart of the prophet Ezekiel a vision of the rivers of living water flowing from God's heavenly throne to bring healing and restoration to his people. We begin to see the fulfillment of this restoration taking place when the Lord Jesus announces the coming of God's kingdom and performs signs and miracles in demonstration of the power of that kingdom.
One of the key signs which John points out in his Gospel account takes place in Jerusalem when Jesus went up to the temple during one of the great Jewish feasts (John 5:1-9). As Jesus approached the temple area he stopped at the pool of Bethzatha which was close by. Many Jews brought their sick relatives and friends to this pool. John tells us that a "multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed" were laid there on the pavement surrounding the pool (John 5:3). This pool was likely one of the ritual baths used for purification for people before they went into the temple to offer prayers and sacrifice. On certain occassions, especially when the waters were stirred, the lame and others with diseases were dipped in the pool in the hope that they might be cured of their ailments.
The lame man that Jesus stopped to speak with had been paralyzed for more than 38 years. He felt helpless because he had no friends to help him bathe in the purifying waters of the pool. Despite his many years of unaswered prayer, he still waited by the pool in the hope that help might come his way. Jesus offered this incurable man not only the prospect of help but total healing as well. Jesus first awakened faith in the paralyzed man when he put a probing question to him, "Do you really want to be healed?" This question awakened a new spark of faith in him. Jesus then ordered him to "get up and walk!" Now the lame man had to put his new found faith into action. He decided to take the Lord Jesus at his word and immediately stood up and began to walk freely.
The Lord Jesus approaches each one of us with the same probing question, "Do you really want to be healed - to be forgiven, set free from guilt and sin, from uncontrollable anger and other disordered passions, and from hurtful desires and addictions. The first essential step towards freedom and healing is the desire for change. If we are content to stay as we are, then no amount of coaxing will change us. The Lord will not refuse anyone who sincerely askes for his pardon, mercy, and healing.
“Lord Jesus, put within my heart a burning desire to be changed and transformed in your way of holiness. Let your Holy Spirit purify my heart and renew in me a fervent love and desire to do whatever is pleasing to you and to refuse whatever is contrary to your will."
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/