5:7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.”

8 Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath.

Rather than looking deep within his own heart and submitting to the probing self-examination Jesus’ question is proposing and taking initiative for his own healing, this sick man moves immediately to blame. He refuses to take responsibility for sharing in the process of his own healing. He falls back upon his identity as a victim; his condition is someone else’s fault. In his own eyes he is powerless.

Jesus will not settle for this vision. Jesus demands that the man stand up, take his mat and walk. Jesus makes no mention here of the pool. The pool is not a necessary ingredient for the healing. This sick man has made a fetish out of the pool which Jesus sweeps aside as completely irrelevant.

Healing depends, at least in part, upon my willingness to take some action on my own behalf. It is possible that my healing may not reside so much in the willingness of another person to intervene on my behalf to put me in line for a magical solution to my dilemma as on my willingness to “take up my mat and walk”.

At Jesus’ command, the man is “at once made well.” He finds the power to return to a fuller life.

Healing may not always look like taking up my mat and walking after being sick for thirty-eight years. And, certainly, it is most unlikely to come about in the kind of time frame this story seems to imply. Healing most often is a long process of help from beyond and initiative from within. Healing is inevitably an intricate dance between help power I receive and my willingness to cooperate with the healing process. But, whatever my healing may look like, when I live in response to the voice of truth, healing in some form will take place.

Are there ways in which I may block the healing process in my own life?

What is the responsibility I am challenged to take in moving towards a fuller more healed life?