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Know God in a Year #56 Disappointment Meets Compassion

Jesus has come to Jerusalem for a special Sabbath. Walking alone in meditation, he comes to Bethesda. Five porches were built around a pool for protection of the sick who flocked here because of superstition: It was believed an angel agitated the water in certain seasons–and the first person to enter was healed. (An evil angel mocking them and God? Many were trampled and made worse as everyone waiting rushed to get in–it was surely not God’s idea.)

Looking around him, Jesus longs to heal every person in the place, but he knows doing that on the Sabbath would cause such hatred that his life and ministry would be shortened.

One man however, captures his heart. His suffering is the result of his own bad choices and is considered God’s judgment. He has no friends or family and for 38 years has been a cripple. A kind-hearted person leaves him at the pool each day, but someone stronger always enters before him. Disappointment is stealing his remaining strength.

He is lying on a rug at the edge of the water, when a kind face bends over him.

“Would you like to be well?” Jesus asks.

Hope springs up and then quickly dies, “Sir, I have no one to help me, so someone always reaches the water before I can.”

“Get up, pick up your bed and walk,” says Jesus.

Can I do this? he wonders. Something in Jesus’ face makes him try. And he does!

John 5:1-8

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