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At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
- John 5:9 (NIV)
It was the Sabbath. Jesus and the disciples were in Jerusalem when they encountered a number of people who were blind, sick, and lame waiting by the pool of Bethesda. These people believed that its water possessed healing powers. While walking by the pool, Jesus encountered a man who had been ill for a long time. Jesus showed mercy to the man and healed him.
Jesus’ encounter with the man by the pool tugs at my heart. When Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well, the man replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” When I read these words, I picture the man trying to get into the pool and missing his opportunity every time — for 38 years — until the day Jesus walked by and the man’s life changed forever.
This passage from John’s Gospel reminds us that no matter how hard we try, some things cannot be accomplished without the help of Christ. Too often I have tried to succeed on my own, only to have someone “[go] down ahead of me.” Eventually, Jesus has come along to tell me to “pick up [my] mat” and to trust his way and his power for my life.
Daily devotionals from The Upper Room