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The Chalice
Friday, May 20 2022


In John’s fifth chapter, we hear Jesus having mercy on a man who has been sick for a long time; the gospel writer says the man has been sick for thirty-eight years. This is an obscure number to mention and it caught my eye. This number mirrors us back to the Old Testament. In the Book of Deuteronomy, the Israelites were in the desert for thirty-eight years, plus the two beforehand of building the ark and seeing the miracles God had presented them. Once the forty years were over, God gave mercy and revealed a time of hope and prosperity in this new place.

In John’s Gospel this Sunday, at the Pool of Beth-zatha, the man there could never be healed – he couldn’t find the hope he sought. The Pool of Beth-zatha isn’t your average pool. It is ancient pool in Jerusalem that was in an undiscovered location until the 19th century. Legend says that angels would swirl the water in the pool and the first person who entered the swirling water would be cured of ailments of many kinds, cleansed of illness, filled with promises of a better life ahead.

Jesus asked the man, “do you want to be made well?” The sick man talked about the impossibility of the occurrence. “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool.” He obviously had an ailment in walking; he is struggling to get to the pool, to attempt to receive healing from the waters stirred up by the angels. He also appears to be a faithful, believing man. Jesus never asked the man what he did or what he had done to try to heal. He simply asked “do you want to be made well?”

Are you suffering from an ailment? It could be physical, emotional, or even spiritual. Perhaps you have struggled for many years and the suffering continues, even though you have prayed daily and attended church weekly. ‘Where is God?’ you wonder. Maybe this is an issue of forgiveness. Do you need to forgive yourself? Easter is a season of resurrection and new life. Jesus is calling to you: “do you want to be made well?” He is prepared to send the angels to swirl the pool for you. Yes, he wants to heal you. God wants to give you His mercy and reveal to you a time of hope and prosperity, but first, Jesus asks this most provocative question, “Do you want to be made well?" How will you answer Jesus?”

Your sibling in Christ,
Fr. James

Posted by: The Rev. James E. Reiss AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
St. John's Episcopal Church
12 Prospect St. | Huntington, NY 11743 | PH: (631) 427-1752
Sunday Services at 8 AM and 10 AM
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