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.