Sometimes You Have to Stir Up the Water
Jesus wants our hearts, not to be blind rule followers. Jesus broke his fair share of rules and was revolutionary in how he lived while he was here on earth.
If you haven’t been watching The Chosen, I highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful portrayal of how Jesus lived, the interaction between his disciples and the profound impact that Jesus had on people’s lives.
There was one particular scene from season 2 episode 4 that shook me to my core where Jesus healed a paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda.
Do You Want to Be Healed?
Jesus asked the paralytic if he wanted to be healed. The man responded with every excuse in the book of why he was still at the Pool of Bethesda after years and years of disappointment. He was looking for something outside of himself to be healed. Jesus told the man all he needed was him.
In the following scene Matthew asked Jesus why he chose to heal the paralytic on the Jewish Sabbath as the Pharisees were very upset by this. His response was,
“Sometimes you have to stir up the water.”
Jesus Heals the Man at the Pool of Bethesda John 5:1–18 NIV
Some time later, there was a religious gathering of the Jews. Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem there is a pool with five porches called Bethesda near the sheep gate. Inside these porches lay many sick people. Some were blind. Some could not walk. Some could not move their bodies. (*An angel of the Lord came at certain times and made the water move. All of them were waiting for it to move. Whoever got in the water first after it was moving was healed of whatever sickness he had.)
A man was there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. Jesus saw him lying there and knew the man had been sick a long time. Jesus said to him, “Would you like to be healed?” The sick man said, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is moving. While I am coming, another one gets in first.” Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your bed and walk.” At once the man was healed and picked up his bed and walked. This happened on the Day of Rest.
The Jews said to the man who had been healed, “This is the Day of Rest. It is against the Law for you to carry your bed.” He said to them, “The Man Who healed me said to me, ‘Pick up your bed and walk.’ Then the Jews asked him, “What man said to you, ‘Pick up your bed and walk’?” The man who had been healed did not know Who He was. Jesus had gone away while many people were there.
Later Jesus found the man who had been healed in the house of God. He said to him, “Listen! You have been healed. Stop sinning or something worse will come to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus Who had healed him.
The Jews Want to Kill Jesus
Because Jesus did these things on the Day of Rest, the Jews made it very hard for Him. Jesus said to them, “My Father is still working all the time so I am working also.” The Jews tried all the more to kill Him, not only because He had worked on the Day of Rest, but because He had also called God His Own Father. This made Him the same as God.
Playing the Victim
Two things stood out to me in this scripture and scene from The Chosen. For thirty eight years this man had a victim mentality. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to live life without the use of my legs, but we still get a choice of how we live our lives.
I will be the first to admit that I have been really good about playing the victim in my own life. Maybe that is why that scene struck me right between the eyes. The bottom line is we are all responsible for our own lives and the choices we make. I have made many poor choices because I was looking for something outside of myself to heal me.
I wasn’t physically disabled like the man at the pool. I was emotionally wounded. I have been working hard to slay that dragon over the last few years. I have finally come to the point in my life that playing the victim only causes me to suffer. This man suffered for thirty eight years. How long have you been suffering? I suffered for a long time too.
In fact we suffer for so long, we don’t know anything different. The state of suffering is hard-wired into our brains. We get really good at playing the victim. But there is a way out as Jesus showed us at the Pool of Bethesda.
We can choose to play the victim for the rest of our lives or we can choose to see ourselves the way God sees us. We can look for external circumstances to line up so we can finally be happy, like the water to bubble up in the pool, or we can make an internal shift and choose joy right now. We can choose to live every day knowing that we are blameless and free from accusation.
“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” Colossians 1:22
Our true nature is blameless. We are free from accusation. Why don’t we live our lives that way? Why do we play the victim when God doesn’t see us that way? I will ask you again the same question that Jesus asked the paralytic. Do you want to be healed? It’s simply a yes or no question.
I recognize change is hard. Rewiring our brain to embody joy rather than suffering takes practice. It means taking a long hard look in the mirror at ourselves. When you look in the mirror remember to see yourself the way God sees you, without blemish and free from accusation.
That is how you get out of victim mode and start to take responsibility for finding peace, joy and happiness in your life. Until we do that we will continue to play the victim mode for the rest of our lives. We get to choose.
I am choosing joy over suffering. I have suffered long enough. I am choosing to see myself the way God sees me. I have seen myself as a victim long enough. I have let the opinion of others define who I am for far too long.
There is only one opinion that matters and that is the opinion of God. He knows my heart and my true nature. He knows your heart and your true nature. Let’s start to live our lives that way with an abundance of joy.
Jesus is a Rebel for Good
This leads me to the second thing that stood out to me in that scene. Jesus is a rebel for good. He didn’t care about the 613 laws of the Torah. He cared about people. The Pharisees hated that about Jesus and that is what got him killed.
Is our religious world much different than that today? Is it more about the law than caring for and loving people? Is it about judging other people that are different than us? If I go to church and I know the Bible does that make me a good Christian man regardless of my heart?
I believe what Jesus really cares about is our heart. I don’t think he really cares about our weekly church attendance or how many Bible verses we have memorized. Neither of those are bad in and of itself, but how often is that thrown in our faces. We aren’t good Christians if we don’t go to church regularly or know the Bible inside and out.
My question is what if we go to church and know the Bible and we still have a cold heart? What if we are judgmental and critical of others who are different than us? We are completely missing the point of what Jesus came here to teach us.
If there isn’t radical inner transformation going on in our heart, we have lost what Jesus came here to model for us. Compassion, love and peace for all of mankind regardless of race, gender identity and economic status.
Jesus was a rebel in who he spent time with. The tax collectors, fishermen and prostitutes. He wasn’t spending the majority of his time with the high and mighty. That’s what gives religion a bad name.
Jesus is for everyone. Love is for everyone. It’s not about following laws, I am good and you are bad, I am right and you are wrong. It’s about seeing everyone’s true nature and that we are all inter-connected beings through the love of Christ. That is what Jesus came here to show us.
If that means being a rebel, I want to be a rebel too. I want to overturn what isn’t working in our current world and get back to Jesus’ main message of radical inner transformation. He wants our hearts so we can live the abundant life that he promises us.
So I will ask you again as Jesus repeatedly asked the paralytic man, do you want to be healed? It starts with taking responsibility for our choices. It starts by seeing ourselves the way God sees us and overcoming any victim mentality that we have suffered with over the years. Take your power back, heal your wounds and start to live life fully alive.
Spiritual Warrior Coach
Founder and Creator of Barbells and Brothers