Not a Place to Dwell

Jeff Munroe

Read: John 5:1-9

Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. (v. 7)

Imagine being stuck for 38 years! It’s inconceivable. Thirty-eight years is a looong time. Thirty-eight years ago Jimmy Carter was president, no one had heard of Google, Apple, or Microsoft, and cutting-edge technology for telephones meant push buttons instead of a rotary dial.

Jesus encountered a man who had been stuck because of illness for 38 years. His paralysis had become both literal and figurative. He was stuck in several ways. He wasn’t able to go anywhere and must have had to make accommodations to live that way. Because he had adjusted to living that way and had been there so long, Jesus wasn’t even sure if the man wanted to be well.

I’ve said that loneliness is a normal human emotion. So are depression, anxiety, fear, and anger. They are normal, we all experience them, but they are not places to stay. Jesus’ question “Do you want to be healed?” (v. 6) is a question for every one of us. Intense emotions like loneliness can become paralyzing. They feed upon themselves—feeling lonely can convince us that we aren’t really good company, and we wind up avoiding people. Loneliness becomes exacerbated by loneliness! This is not a place to dwell, but sometimes we get stuck there.

Are you hearing the voice of Jesus saying, “Get up”? Perhaps God is speaking through a friend or a family member. Perhaps it is time for you to move. —Jeff Munroe

Prayer: Lord, may we be attuned to your voice.