“Do you want to get well?” TLV, NIV & AMP
“Do you truly long to be well?” TPT
“Do you want to be healed?” CJB, CEV
“Wilt thou be made whole?” KJV
“Do you want to be made well?” WMBBE
Regardless of your preference of Bible version, these words are spoken by Jesus in John 5, verse 6 to a lame man laying by the Pool of Bethesda (Bethsaida or Bethzatha). Please take the time to read the entire story yourself (John 5:1-9a) but I’ll paraphrase it for you:
The Pool of Bethesda was thought to be a place of healing when an angel of the Lord stirred up the water (AMP & NIV notes). The first one into the water when it was stirred up would be healed. The man in this story been an invalid for 38 years and had been trying to get into the water for a very long time. Someone else always got in ahead of him. He was understandably distraught.
Considering this man’s backstory and how long he’s been trying to be first into the water, Jesus’ question has always befuddled me. It seemed at best rhetorical and at worse, silly, even a little hurtful or minimizing. Why in the world would he ask that of this man? Hold on to that question.
Recently a very dear friend of mine was checking in with me and shared about a TV series called, “The Chosen” (free to view online at Angel Studios). The episode he had watched that morning was this scene of Jesus and this lame man at the Pool of Bethesda. Per Scripture, Jesus is at the Pool and He’s speaking to this man and He asks him this question. Being a TV show and needing to extend the story to an entire episode, yes, take a few liberties where the Word is silent, and Jesus asked (paraphrased), “I didn’t ask why you couldn’t get in the water. I asked, ‘Do you want to be healed?’” The exchange struck a chord in my friend’s heart as it did mine.
Jesus is asking us ALL this question but especially those who indulge some kind of habitual sin, an addiction. “Do you REALLY want to get well?” I speak from experience. Insane as it sounds – because it IS a form of insanity – addicts, when they’re in the throes of their addiction, don’t want to be healed. Healing challenges the lies. Healing challenges the addiction itself. Healing challenges the fantasy. Healing is reality. Healing is trust.
Jesus is asking every one of us, “Do you want to be healed?” Going back to the ‘why’ He would ask this question, Jesus wasn’t of this world. He was a man, flesh & blood, living on this earth but He was not of this world. As with most others He asks in Scripture this is a heart question that only He could ask. He knew this man. He knew how long he’d been there. He knew the despair, the frustration and, possibly, the resignation that this was how it would always be for him. He knew the man’s heart. He knows ours. Do we really want to be healed?
When Jesus said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk,” the man did. He didn’t have to. He had a choice. He could have surrendered to his circumstances (addiction) instead of surrendering to the Son of God. “Thanks, but I’ll wait for an angel.”
I love Scripture. You can read with your head for 57 years and know, shallowly, what it says. Then, one day, you let Holy Spirit in and He installs it in your heart. The shallows become depths. Incredible, amazing depths.
Jesus is asking. Do you want to be healed?
Freedom is a gift from God. It is also His Promise; and He ALWAYS keeps His Promises.
REVIEW: This story is found in Season 2, Episode 4 of “The Chosen” at Angel Studios, beginning about the 38th minute. I watched this section of the episode. The creators take “poetic license” and fill in the gaps between what’s actually shared in Scripture and what’s presented on the screen. I grew up in a church environment of “speak where the Bible speaks, be silent where the Bible is silent.” I have since come to believe that attitude severely limits Holy Spirit’s ability to express a depth of the Scriptures not found in the black & white (or red & white) – heart stuff. I found nothing offensive in the episode. Movie reviews are always subjective but I recommend you give it a watch.