” Rise, take up your mat and walk. ” John 5:8
By the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, there was a pool surrounded by five galleries. In these galleries lay a multitude of sick people – blind, lame and the paralyzed. They were all waiting and longing to be healed. Rumors were flying that from time to time the sick were healed there by an angel of the Lord, the first one to enter after the water was being stirred up.
This pool was a pagan place dedicated to Aesculapius the god of health. Unscrupulous Jews went there to seek a cure even from pagan idols. Jesus, too went there, but in search of the sinner he wished to save.
Jesus saw the sick man and he knew that he had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus asked whether he wanted to be healed, the sick man’s first response; I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is disturbed. Jesus then said to him, ” Rise, take up your mat and walk. ” And at once the man was healed, he took up his mat and walked. ( John 5:8-9 )
Afterwards Jesus found him in the Temple count and told him not to sin again. Jesus reminded the sick man of his lack of faith that led him to the pagan sanctuary where he waited in vain for 38 years. It is also understand that the cure of the pool represented a new birth, a new person was addressed to those who have been converted and baptized.
In vain had the sick man long waited years though at the pool. By himself alone – man cannot be saved. He needs not the god of health but a savior. He is Jesus whom he needs and none other.
Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.