As Lent continues and I continue on my Lenten Water challenge, I am mindful of those who do not have clean water and those who suffer with diseases because the water they drink is unsafe. Many diseases are caused by lack of access to clean water.
In John 5, Jesus is in Jerusalem on the Sabbath. We read that he encountered many who were lame or paralyzed. There at the Sheep Gate in Beth-zatha lay a man who had been ill for 38 years. That’s the entire span of my husband’s life and back in those times, 38 years was practically a lifetime!
Scripture says that Jesus saw the man lying there and “knew that he had been there a long time (v. 6).” Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to be made well?” The man indirectly answers the question by replying that he has no one to place him in the water. How can he make it in time to take his turn when it takes him so long to get there?
This man may have hoped that Jesus would wait with him and put him in the healing waters when it’s time. But Jesus does something even better and more surprising.
“Stand up, take your mat and walk.“
Verse 9 tells us that at Jesus’ words, the man was made well, picked up his mat and began to walk.
Sometimes at Jesus’ words, we may find healing. Sometimes we witness miracles that can only be explained by God’s intervention into human lives. This is the healing the man in John 5 found. It’s an exciting story of Jesus’ power! There are many people in our world who are crying out for healing and hope even right now.
Sometimes, the miracle comes when help each other reach the pool. I think about this man, lying for 38 years, hoping for healing from a pool of water. Alone with no one to help him get to a place of healing and wholeness. How sad, really, that no one helped him.
To some people in our world, clean water itself would be a miracle. We may take it for granted because it flows freely from several taps and sinks in each of our houses. We may even fuss that our water’s not clean enough and buy bottled water, which is relatively cheap and easy to get at the grocery store. But the fact remains that for millions of people worldwide, clean water seems unobtainable.
Too many people are dying from diseases that are caused by their water sources. For these people, waters with special healing powers are not the answer. The answer is much simpler: clean water. Organizations like the Blood:Water Mission are working to bring clean water to communities that currently only have access to water that is unclean and unfit for human consumption.
When we support these organizations, we bring brothers and sisters around the world to a pool, a fountain, a well of clean water so that they may no longer struggle and deal with the diseases and health issues that plague them. They are not physically paralyzed, but they are unable to obtain this healing on their own.
Sometimes Jesus uses his words to heal and sometimes Jesus uses his church. I want to be a part of that.