The Evangelist John tells the story of a magical pool in Jerusalem where people who struggled with
afflictions would go in hopes of finding a cure for their ails. These were people who were sick, blind, lame and even paralyzed. They came to this pool with the desire to be healed. One day as Jesus is passing by, he notices an invalid – a man who had been ill for over 38 years. He was just lying there waiting for a miracle.
Jesus approaches the man and asks him, “Do you wish to get well?” Now think about this scene for a moment. Jesus – known for healing and miraculously making people well – approaches a man who is obviously in need of healing. Not only is he immobile, but his illness is chronic. He’s been in this condition for 38 years. If there’s ever a “No-duh” moment, this is it! Of course, he wanted to be healed. It is so obvious and yet Jesus, before healing him to complete health, stops and asks him, “Do you wish to be well?”
Awareness is the first step on the road to recovery. From this story, note that it is not a question of the man being aware of his disease, rather it’s his awareness of wanting to be healed that is called into question.
When we first encounter pain and later are overcome by it – whether that pain is physical or emotional – we will do anything and everything to rid ourselves of the hurt. The pain relievers we take come in a wide variety of forms and doses. From simple aspirin to hard narcotics, to outlets of violence, sex, manipulation and power, we find ways of escaping the pain, only to find that we’ve treated the merely symptoms and not the cause of our illness. Tragically, the pain relievers can easily become a way of life and we find ourselves in comfort-zones. That is, we know things aren’t right, but we’re comfortable. It’s easy to stay in these spots – indulging in our habits and avoiding the true causes of our disease.
Jesus did not ask the man, “Do you want a crutch?” Instead he asks the question we must ask ourselves. Do you want to be healed? Are you ready to become whole? The answer to this question gives us a unique awareness of not the symptoms but the cause of our problems.
On this second day of the Road to Healing, our prayer is for sincerity, that God open our heart so that we can answer the question “Do you want to be healed?” without fear. The road to recovery – whether from physical disease, broken relationships or issues of self-worth – is not an easy one. It’s a challenge. Answering YES to this question sets the course for the rest of the journey.
Yes, I want to be healed! These are the words of today’s meditation. Repeat these words in the silence of your heart. If you’re able, share the words with a loved one. The road to recovery and healing has begun.
I look forward to continuing on this journey with you tomorrow, when we will step even closer to an awareness of our challenges. Until then, this if Fr. Vazken, praying with you for the strength to say, Yes I want to be healed.
Reference – Gospel of St. John Chapter 5
Photo (c) 2014 Fr. Vazken Movsesian at Lake Sevan