The stirring pool waters promised healing. The sick and the lame crowded towards the water’s edge jockeying for position to be first to set foot into the pool’s healing waters.
One afflicted soul never made it to the water’s edge. He came to the pool every day for 38 years. Camped on a worn and tattered mat. Waiting for someone to help him be first into the waters.
No one came. After 38 years do you think he had resigned himself to a life of hopeless misery? Do you think he felt stuck? Alone? Isolated? Disconnected? No one to talk to? No one to encourage him? No one to understand?
Ever been there? I have. Lounging on my mat in a group of 300 friends and colleagues and feeling totally alone, miserably isolated. No hope. No joy. No way out. No one to listen. No one to understand.
But the man at the pool found healing waters. He found Living Water.
Jesus came. Jesus gave him this command, “Pick up your mat.” John 5:9 says, “Immediately the man became well.”
The Bible doesn’t say any more about that man. I’d be willing to wager he didn’t take that mat home and stuff it in his closet. I’ll bet he showed that mat to everyone he met. I’ll bet he skipped through the streets of the town for weeks testifying to how Jesus had healed him.
His mat became his message. God used the man’s 38 years of affliction as a testimony to His faithfulness.
God used the woman at the well’s adulterous lifestyle to make believers out of Samaritans.
“From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” John 4:39
God used the man born blind in John 9 to testify to the miraculous healing, transforming, power of Jesus. After the Pharisees hounded him and his parents, the man born blind told them,
“One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25
An adulterous woman. A man born blind. A man afflicted for 38 years. Their situations appeared hopeless. Until they encountered Jesus. His comforting words and His compassion turned hopelessness into hope. Their mats became their testimonies.
Are you stuck? Are you afflicted? Are you feeling hopeless? Helpless? When we find ourselves on those mats, can we remember that Jesus sees us? Jesus knows everything about us. Jesus is with us every second of every single day. He will never leave us. He is never not with us.
And someday those awful mats we finally pick up will become a testimony for us to share the healing, transforming, healing power of Jesus.
In case you missed it, yesterday I wrote about the first command Jesus gave the man at the pool. First Jesus asked the man if he really wanted to get well. Then Jesus said, “Get up.” You can read that post here