When the Waters Stir

I love the story in the Gospel of John (chapter 5) where tired and sick people used to sit at the pool in the Temple, waiting for an angel to come down and “stir the waters” to bring healing qualities to the water. Sadly, in the story, a man who had been invalid for 38 years (!) would hobble over toward the pool as fast as he could, but was always crowded out or just a second too late.

Do you ever feel like that? Does it seem like other people are experiencing God’s blessings, while you get shoved to the side? Do you ever think you just missed your chance? Your repentance and return to God came just a second too late? 

Well, I have good news. In the story, Jesus walked right up to these folks, bypassing this entire superstition, and simply healed with his word and touch. No fighting the crowds. No sitting around and waiting for some small window of grace to open for a split second only to shut again. Jesus offers more than a small puddle of spiritual refreshment that appears momentarily but vanishes quickly in the afternoon sun. He offers to fill us with a pool of living (and healing) water so we’ll never need to search for water again!

“The water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

For 2,000 years Jesus has been “stirring” hearts and flooding lives with his healing grace and redeeming love. One place where you can count on God himself coming down to “stir the waters” is in the ancient practice of baptism.

Every August we have gathered at the beach for our baptism services and watch thirsty souls make their way to the waters. No matter how green and slimy that lake water looks and feels, when we step into it and proclaim sacred vows over it, it becomes like that pure blue fountain of water springing up to eternal life for those who enter into it.

But there’s a question on Jesus’ lips in this story that hangs in the air, begging for an answer from each person who reads it. “Do you want to get well?” I mean really? If so, come to Him, stop making excuses, stopping putting it off till tomorrow.

“For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

2 replies »

  1. This is such a favourite passage of scripture for me. I find it so encouraging. I like that Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to get well?” Jesus is knocking at all our hearts, stirring them like you say in this post and asking us the same thing ,”Do you want to get well?”
    All we need with Jesus is the desire to be well and the faith that he can do it, and this passage is great encouragement that he can do it! He is the same today, yesterday and forever!
    I also like that after the man is healed, he is found by Jesus in the temple. Some people think that being in church is all about being perfect but it’s not, it’s all about being thankful. We come to the river (pool) because we need healing. We come to the church to give thanks. We can’t help ourselves! We love to do it because we are overflowing with thanks.
    God bless your baptisms this weekend, I’ll be praying from Australia for them and the many that will ‘get well’ because of what Jesus, the living water will do.
    Lots of love L.

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