Monday, August 6, 2012

Waiting For The Moving Of The Water

John 5:2 - 9

Waiting For The Moving Of The Water

"Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue 'Bethesda,' having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He saith unto him, 'Wilt thou be made whole?' The impotent man answered Him, 'Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, 'Rise, take up they bed, and walk.' And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath" (John 5:2 - 9).

It is of a certainty all who read these words are in a similar condition to those who were waiting for the moving of the water. Impotent. Blind. Halt. Withered. Diseased.

It is difficult to imagine a more pathetic or heartbreaking scene: a great multitude of the most helpless of humanity. Can you see them there? Lying in their dirty rags, their bodies riddled with open sores, their scalps raw from scratching and tearing at lice. A great multitude. Crowded together. Packed together. Disabled sardines. A blind man wedged between a legless woman and a twisted, crippled human oddity. All manner of disease and deformity. Elephant men. Mongoloid women. Every repulsive freak of *nature.* Every hapless victim of disease or accident. Waiting for the troubling of the water.

And then the race begins. An athletic competition more fiercely contested than a hundred Super Bowls. . .a thousand Super Bowls. For what does the winner of the Super Bowl get that the loser does not? A ring? A trophy? Junk jewelry. But to win the race to the moving water. . .to be first into the pool. To enter the water a paralyzed, atrophied, slobbering wretch. . .to emerge a healthy man or woman. In complete physical perfection. The winner lives. The winner is reborn. All things now possible. Every dream of what life could have been, now within reach.

The losers die a little death. What a bitter moment! Can we understand it? To be a crawling thing, a man with useless legs who drags himself through the dirt. . .to be hideously deformed, a monster in the eyes of the healthy. Laying at the pool for weeks, months, years, a lifetime. . .waiting for the moving of the water. Knowing the odds are slim, knowing it will probably be someone else who enters the water first. But it is impossible not to hope. Impossible not to imagine a new life. Then to have to pull your wrecked body out of the pool and listen to the ecstatic cries of the winner. To see a man or woman who just an instant ago was a broken heap of flesh and bone, to see a man or woman who just an instant ago was the same as you. . .but now leaps and dances and sings for joy. . .while you remain the same: impotent. Blind. Halt. Withered. Diseased. These are people that believed in a Divine Being, though it is impossible to know if any of them knew the one True God. But they all knew an angel moved the water. They had, at the very least, an inkling of the Divine. So it must be concluded that at least some of the losers, still wretched in their now-dripping wet rags, must have hated God, however briefly, with a fury to match Satan.

The race itself to enter the moving water must have been one of the most amazing spectacles in the history of the world. There was no referee on hand to blow a whistle for *unsportsmanlike conduct.* It must have been great sport to trick the blind with false cries that the water was moving. Hear the tortured, guttural laughs of the deformed as they watch a cursing blind man flail about in the pool.

And then one day, suddenly, the water did, indeed, move. There must have been a moment of absolute stillness as those who could see stared at the moving water. The crippled or deformed or diseased hypnotized by the ripples in the pool. Whatever meager capability of locomotion they had, now totally shut down as they lay there entranced by the moving water. Transfixed. Charmed. By a vision of what life could be. If only. . . And then some of the blind must have wondered at the eerie stillness, the eerie silence. "What is it?" And the spell is broken. An insane scramble begins. A limping, crawling, twisting, writhing mass of flesh wills itself toward the pool. The crippled trip over the legless, the blind crash into snorting oddities, a few of the *lucky* paralyzed, *blessed* to have helpers, are picked up and half-shoved, half-heaved to the pool. The pool is soon transformed into a raging sea stirred by the frantic churnings of broken limbs. How many paralyzed are trapped below the water's surface? Fear, terror, panic, derangement. . .to be ensnared in your own flesh under water, unable to move arms or legs. It had not been an easy life on dry ground. Now this end. . .waiting for the moving of the water.

Many with their human understanding will conclude it was cruel of God to heal only one person, and in such a pitiless fashion. But study the picture carefully before you draw any final conclusion, for this picture reveals much.

The picture of the pool is the picture of the world. It has been this way since Adam and Eve sinned, and it will be this way until Jesus enters the picture, as in the opening account from the fifth chapter of the gospel of John. If you cannot recognize yourself in the great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt and withered, waiting for the moving of the water, you will never be made whole and you will die in your sins and be cast into the Lake of Fire. . .imprisoned for eternity. . .wailing and gnashing your teeth. . .where the worm dieth not. . .and the smoke of your torment ascendeth up for ever and ever (Revelation 14:11, 20:15, Matthew 13:42, Mark 9:44).

You may not be physically crippled, but you are emotionally crippled. You may not be physically blind, but you are spiritually blind. You may not be physically withered, but your soul is withered. Friend, you are lying by a pool waiting for the moving of the water. Your pool may be filled with Jack Daniels or heroin. Your pool may be filled with fornication or sodomy. Lying or stealing. Self-mutilation. Over-eating. Under-eating. You know what your pool is filled with. You go into those waters because your life is crippled. If you get drunk, life seems less painful. If you fornicate, it seems like someone *loves* you. If you steal, you have something you didn't have before in your crummy life, and your life seems one item less crummy. Some stay in these waters till they drown. Others eventually leave these scum-laden pools and try *cleaner* water: twelve step programs, therapy, religious ritual, education or career. You wear a suit and a tie and you get into that career pool every day and you make waves. Some think they are living, this must be life: a house, cars, possessions. They will live and die in passable contentment. Others will always be aware of the hollowness of their existence, but will dare not believe in anything they cannot see. They live in despair, depression.

Let us look at the picture of the pool again. Many with their human understanding will conclude it was cruel of God to heal only one person, and in such a pitiless fashion. But is it not man's way to have only one winner? The survival of the fittest. The law of the jungle. A man makes a billion dollars at the expense of a billion souls. . .and is happy. . .and is celebrated. . .out of envy. Man has never created a social system in which all prosper equally. A few live delicious lives while most struggle to maintain existence. Competitiveness is a rotten fruit of man's fallen nature. Man says "look out for number one." Even Jesus' disciples argued which one of them should be the greatest (Mark 9:34). It is man's way for one to win, and the rest to lose. Man lusts at the Lotto odds, at the remote hope he can win everything. He has no desire to share. Man desires a system where only the first into the pool wins. Many with their human understanding will conclude it was cruel of God to heal only one person, and in such a pitiless fashion--but Almighty God never overrides man's free will.

A person who will not admit he or she is impotent or blind or halt or withered or diseased will never be made whole. If you are not willing to admit you are waiting for the moving of the water, stop reading. You have deceived yourself, or willingly allowed yourself to be deceived. We leave you with these parting words: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12).

If you are sick and tired, if you live in despair and depression, let look again at the picture of the pool. A man had lived in misery for 38 years. What does this tell us? No condition is permanent. Do not think, I have been depressed all my life, I cannot change. Do not think, I have been a drunk all my life, I cannot change. You must think as the man at the pool thought. This man understood he could not change himself. But he believed the water could change him. You must understand, you cannot change yourself. Yes, you can change your habits. You can change from being addicted to alcohol to being addicted to AA meetings and enduring, by force of will, the cravings for alcohol. You can change your habits, but you cannot change yourself.

And you must understand you cannot find Jesus. How many have said, I am on a spiritual journey, I am seeking the truth, I am seeking God. But, my friend, Jesus is right there:

"And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He saith unto him, 'Wilt thou be made whole?' The impotent man answered Him, 'Sir, I have no man. . ."

This man was on a journey, seeking the moving water, seeking that which could save him. Jesus Himself, God in flesh, The Creator, asked the man if he would be made whole. The man answered by calling Jesus "sir." This man did not know Jesus from the next man. This man, on his spiritual quest, was in the very presence of God. . .and did not know it.

Do not think that you can find Jesus. Jesus said "no man cometh to me, except the Father which has sent Me draw him" (John 6:44). You cannot find Jesus. You cannot find God. Do not deceive yourself about your spiritual journey. You are the creature, not the Creator. The creature cannot discover its Creator. As the Lord said to Job, "where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding" (Job 38:4). You say you have not found Jesus on your spiritual quest. Yet in truth, you are not even looking for Jesus. You are looking for a god who will affirm your own beliefs. You look for a god who thinks as you think. "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 55:8). You can continue on in your spiritual quest, seeking a god whose ways are your ways. You are chasing your own tail. You will never be made whole.

Just as Jesus came to the man waiting for the moving of the water, Jesus will come to you. The Heavenly Father will bring you the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it shall be asked of you: "Wilt thou be made whole?" Will you be saved?

Notice how the man at the pool answered. "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool." This man, just as you, had no idea who Jesus was. This man answers Jesus Christ, God in flesh, as he would answer any other man. He laments his condition, and wishes he had another man to help him. Has the Almighty asked if you would be saved, and you answered Him "if only someone would give me a break?" "If only so-and-so would do such-and-such a thing, my life would be made whole." If your faith rests in another person, you will only be disappointed. He or she is in the same condition as you: impotent. Blind. Halt. Withered. Diseased.

The man waiting for the moving of the water had no idea who he was talking to. You have no idea who Jesus is. You have heard the name. You have thought, He was a good man. . .or , nobody. . .just a fictional character. How will you know Jesus is Lord and Savior? How will you know Jesus is God? Jesus will not come to you in the flesh as He did the man at the pool. But He will come to you by the same power which healed the man at the pool. As John the Baptist said: "I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the Same said to me, 'Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.' And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God" (John 1:33 - 34). By the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus said to the man "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk." This man did not deny the power, but obeyed Jesus. . ."and immediately the man was made whole."

Will you deny the power which testifies to you of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Who is Jesus?

"That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3 - 4). "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).

The Lord Jesus Christ asks you: "Wilt thou be made whole?" Will you be saved?

The same power of the Holy Spirit which enabled the man waiting for the moving of the water to stand and walk, this same power will deal with your spirit.

"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me" (John 15:26). "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost" (I Thessalonians 1:5). "This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth" (I John 5:6). "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the spirit of anti-Christ" (I John 4:3).

It is man's way to have only one winner. Man desires a system where only the first into the pool wins. Not so with Jesus. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). It is God's will that all win, that no one end up in the Lake of Fire. Jesus has provided our salvation Personally, by leaving Heaven and coming in the form of man and living the life we should have lived and paying the price for our sins with His death on the cross at Calvary. Here is the mystery of salvation: why would anyone deny Christ? Of course, the reasons, the excuses, are many. We have free will, and so even though it is the Almighty's will we be saved, He cannot force us to trust in Christ. The Almighty will draw you to Christ, the Holy Spirit will testify to your spirit that Jesus is Christ, and God will even grant you the necessary measure of faith to believe (Romans 12:3). . .but you of your own free will must bow your knee and confess your sinful state and acknowledge Jesus is the only answer.

Are you one of those waiting for the moving of the water? Have you been waiting for a miracle to change your life? Your life. . .the gospel of Luke tells the story of a rich young ruler (Luke 18:18 - 27) who seemed to *have it all,* power, money, the whole nine yards. Surely such a one as this would have no need of Jesus. The lepers, the blind, the sick, the poor, they needed Jesus. But this rich young ruler sought out Christ. Why? Deep down he knew something was not right in his life. He was aware, though outwardly appearing to be the picture of success, he was not fit for Heaven. Something was wrong. So he came to Jesus and asked what he must do to be saved. Jesus said he must give up everything and follow Him. The rich young ruler rejected Christ. He knew something was wrong, but he did not like Jesus' answer. He was not deceived. He knew he was like the poor wretches laying by the pool. He knew he needed healing. But he had more faith in his riches than in Christ.

Your life. . .are you one of those who is laying by the pool? Or are you like the rich young ruler--a *winner?* Deep down, each one of you knows something is not right. Do you wonder where that feeling comes from? That feeling that something is not right? Jesus said: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with Me" (Revelation 3:20).

I believe there are some out there who hear Christ's voice. The Holy Spirit is revealing the Truth to you. I pray you respond to the leading of the Spirit, and confess the Lord Jesus Christ. The water is moving. . . 

"Wilt thou be made whole?"

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