Healing the disabled in our Bethesda Pools
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:19
In these last days, I have been confronted by the story of the healing of the handicapped of Bethesda, a story that the writer of the Gospel presents as the third of the seven signs that Jesus worked during his ministry on earth.
Not that they were the only signs that Jesus did, but the most important, those that mark a spiritual teaching to establish by them protocols of operation for the establishment of the work of God in the regions.
This is the third post I have written since the date the Lord prompted me to read about it.
It is a teaching that the Lord has been giving me regarding the “work” of God, how to establish it, and what establishment purposes to pursue with it. It is, of course, a subject of spiritual warfare strategy which seeks to destroy the devil’s work in the places to which He sends us.
However, I have had a personal concern about the reason that led Jesus to get out of the way –He was going to the Temple– and to look in that place for this handicapped person in order to heal him. Although the account testifies that an angel descended at a certain time to the pool, and stirred the water; and that which first descended into the pool after the movement of the water, was healed of whatever disease it had; (verse 4) neither the curiosity could be an attraction to be there; in reality no one was interested in being there, there was no attraction, it was a nauseating place, because of the presence of the sheep that came to the place, and because of the amount of dirty sick people that inhabited the place.
On the other hand, why did you choose this sick person, if the text clearly says that there was a multitude of sick, of blind, halt, and withered, waiting for the movement of water? (verse 3) Why among so many did Jesus choose the handicapped? Why not another sick?
There is an apparent answer to our question: When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case,(verse 6) however, the long time that the paralytic had been sick could not be the true cause, because in multiple other cases of healings, Jesus healed, liberated, resurrected, those who had not suffered so long because of a disease. Time was simply the factor that would make his case testify for itself.
The real reason is found in the answer that the handicapped person presents, explaining the cause of why he is still in the place,
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. (Verse 7)
Jesus found truth in the handicapped. The disabled person was truthful in referring to the state of his condition. His condition was due to two factors, to his physical inability to fend for himself, and to the consciousness that had been inculcated in him from the moment he arrived in Bethesda looking for an answer to his illness.
Diseases do not come by themselves, we summon them. Disease is not the result of human deterioration, because of old age, or because of the environment; disease is the result of establishing for oneself depraved conduct in direct opposition to the Will of God,
As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come. Proverbs 26:2
Disease first appears in the spirit, then, with time, it appears in the flesh. In one of his teachings, Jesus established that it is man himself who defiles his own body, and makes it diseased,
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: Matthew 15:18, 19
Man defiles his flesh by the wickedness that is in his heart.
Now, seeing the process of defilement in a positive way, when man amends his way (many situations of pain and suffering come to cause man to amend his way), the heart is transformed and instead of coming out perversity and defile his flesh, comes out truthfulness that encourages God to move toward him. repentance produces truth, and the truth makes God approach the person.
The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51:17
Man brings healing to his body when he amends the wickedness of his heart, repents, and is truthful in his daily life.
Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Isaiah 6:10
This is what made Jesus choose the handicapped from among the many sick people who lay in the place. He found truth in the words of the handicapped, no perversity came out of his heart.
Why don’t our words have authority? Because our words speak well but there is no truth, they are declarations of falsehood, of vanity, of justification, only to look good in front of others.
Why do people doubt our feelings, our motivations? Because our attitudes are not truthful, they lack truth; one thing is said but there are hidden plans.
There are many who profess faith in Jesus but live in wickedness of heart. This is what defiles the body and then comes disease and death.
The handicapped person spoke the truth: I have no one, but there was no anger, no courage, no rebellion, and no hatred against God for being in that condition. The time of suffering had crushed him, and he had sacrificed all that was perverse in his heart, and now he could speak the truth.
We could say that both questions have already been answered; however, we still have to answer the question, what was Jesus’ real reason for going astray on the road and passing through Bethesda before arriving at the Temple?
Didn’t Jesus change his route because of the handicapped? Not really, the healing of the disabled was the way Jesus destroyed a satanic cult, which was the real purpose of passing through Bethesda.
The healing of the handicapped of Bethesda goes beyond a simple history of healing, it is the step of an evil situation (a satanic cult to human reasoning, to be more specific) which had been established at the same level as the Temple, and nobody had noticed the focus of spiritual contamination which the place had harbored.
The reader will observe that being a Jewish holiday, people were obliged to go up to the Temple. However, Bethesda had captured a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halts, withered, waiting for the moving of the water, and obviously, they were not obeying the Lord’s command to appear before Him.
14Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. … 17Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD. Exodus 23:14-17
Jesus deviated from his route and went to Bethesda to establish a work to break the yoke imposed by the reasoning accumulated by the experiences in community, and for the health of the disabled to disrupt the cult of natural knowledge by which people explain and determine their way of life. It was necessary to establish that nothing can direct your life, that man’s life must be directed by his decision to appear before Him, that He is the source of all human well-being.
If the handicapped person had spent almost most of his thirty-eight years of illness in the place,(vs. 5) and he himself admits that there are no possibilities of healing, (vs. 7) Why was he still in the place? What tied him to the place?
It was not faith that kept him in the place; it was the reasoning that the place and his condition had imposed upon him. To the question, Why are you still here? The handicapped man would have answered, and where can I go? Is there any better place than this? It’s the only thing I can do, it’s the only thing I know.
His disability condition and the place had conditioned his ability to discern. The handicapped person was bound by a reasoning; and like him, many.
The place, the pool of Bethesda, had become an altar to human understanding and a cult was rendered to the knowledge acquired, to the know-how derived from daily experiences, to the culturally imposed wisdom. That is why it was necessary for Jesus to pass through Bethesda, to break this monument of accumulated perversion; the healing of a handicapped person of thirty-eight years of disease destroyed all cultivated rationalization.
There are human ties stronger than satanic ones, they are the ties of consciousness. They are ties that bind people to places and circumstances and impose fear so that the person does not even want to consider the possibility of another alternative.
–In this I grew up, in this I am going to die;
–this is how my parents taught me, this is how I am going to live;
These are expressions that we find very often in our societies. People who are afraid, who don’t believe that there is another way to do things, who cling to the same methods, for years.
They are altars to popular, cultural, social, and even religious reasoning; in them, there is a movement of darkness.
Wilt thou be made whole?