‘Do you want to be made well?’ …Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.’ …and he took up his mat and began to walk (John 5:1-15).Wellness isn’t just about the (physical) body. In Jerusalem, there was a man lying by the Sheep Gate where there is a pool of water. It is said that during certain seasons an Angel of the Lord comes down and causes the pool of water to stir up. It is believed that the first to enter into the water during this time would be healed. Of course there would be any number of people at any given time waiting to get in to this water. And as one could imagine, in this kind of survival of the fittest existence many people leave unhealed. When Jesus comes along and sees this man whom he knows has been coming to the pool for 38 years, his question as to whether the man wants to be made well is rhetorical. He wouldn’t be hanging out at the pool if he didn’t want to be made well. Knowing this, Jesus gives him a command; “Stand up, take your mat and walk!” Now the man has a choice to make. Some action has to be taken. He can either continue to believe in the water or take a chance and believe in the word of Christ. He has everything to gain and nothing to lose except perhaps another 38 years.
On the surface in Mark’s Gospel concerning the event of the unnamed woman who was hemorrhaging for twelve years and Jairus’ 12 year old daughter who was dying, several things seem quite clear. Jesus wants us to be encouraged that it is never too late to have faith. Jesus wants us to understand that reaching out to him is not a risk and that he will take time for us understanding that we are all a priority. It is the reason I believe that Jesus delayed his route to Jairus’ house to recognize the needs of an unnamed woman along the way. However much deeper is the understanding of the limitation of what we know to be independence. The law of spiritual independence for the Christian is to be able to break through, to be free from the cultural norms (some of which can be misinterpretations and misuse of the physical laws), and the “crowds” when they prevent us from reaching out to God. Particularly in today’s economy it is important to understand that as we journey we may find our selves as the unnamed woman or the well-known official, either way survival of the fittest (our ability to adapt) may apply to the physical freedoms of this world but our true strength lies in the survival of the heart that continually seeks after God. To that end the original thought of being at wits end (Breaking Through) seems less likely because I believe it takes a lot of strength, courage and endurance to be able to break through. Strength comes with repetition. Thus, rather than being at wits end, Christ for the unnamed woman and Jairus, is the manifestation of 12 years of hope. Regardless of where we are in life, faith is not entirely about overcoming struggle but also being able to reach out to God at the most crucial times in our lives. We don’t ever need to find ourselves at wits end because in spite of everything, daily to ourselves, we just have to be able to say from the heart “I believe”.
Mark 5:21-43 “Daughter, your faith has made you well” …”Do not fear, only believe.”