What is the limit of your comfort zone in dealing with those who have severe disabilities? An account in the Bible records Jesus’ visit to the pool of Bethesda. Among the many awaiting healing that day, Jesus selected a particularly difficult case (John 5:1-15). Life for a paraplegic is not easy even today, but imagine the challenges faced in the 1st century. There would have been problems of mobility, livelihood, personal hygiene, and social isolation. In addition, people with disabilities have often faced judgments by others, declaring their sickness and suffering as a result of their karma or sins. This, however, need not be the case.
People moved this man who had become paralyzed for 38 years from place to place. His meager income came from begging or from the charity of his friends and family. When Jesus saw this man at the pool side, he asked him a question “Do you wish to get well?” Our first instinct is to think, how odd that Jesus would even ask such a question to a desperately needy person. Of course, he wants healing. Yet, at times, people allow their identity to center around their problems, be it their pet vices. Removal of these problems would require re-forming their sense of who they are.
As we sit in the comfort of our homes, the needs of people with leprosy or other illnesses seem overwhelming, we hesitate to love when it may get messy; we’re dangerously attached to control. But Jesus liked to be in difficult situations; His love flowed freely even when problems had crippled a person’s sense of identity.
Jesus healed the paralytic man (v.11). Sometimes, we do turn to God, but with the wrong goal in mind. It is possible that we often look to God to give us what we think we need, when in fact, what we need is God, Himself. A deep intimate relationship with
Christ will empower us to reach out to others and love like Jesus!