Yesterday, someone shared a scripture with me. Now, I‘ve read the scripture over and over again prior to this friend sharing the scripture with me, in fact, one of my favourite rappers — Evangel — has a song on this part of the bible which he titled “Bethesda”. You probably can now guess where I am talking about; John 5.
Okay, permit me to digress and just throw in a free promo for Evangel before I continue. You know, it baffles me how this guy can take a whole chapter and make Hip Hop songs with it and yet, beautifully capture every detail of the scripture and still keep the songs under an average of 4 minutes. It’s just amazing. He once did a song about the whole of Daniel’s Night vision in Daniel 7 in the same album containing the “Bethesda” song. The album is titled “Eye Witness Encounters“. Album of life. From an Artiste of Life. Whoosh!!!
Forgive my digression.
So I read John 5 and I just learnt a few things that I would love to share. There’s something really lovely about the bible; It speaks to different people differently and accurately so. So while my friend read that same chapter and shared something with me that reaaaally blessed me, I read and saw something else in addition to what she shared with me. That’s what I’ll be sharing. Hopefully, you’d read the same scripture too.
THE POOL OF BETHESDA.
The story in John 5 is basically about a pool that heals called Bethesda.
Quick Hebrew lesson.
We all know “Beth” means house, since Beth-EL means House of God and Beth-lehem means house of bread. Beth-hesda then, is a Hebrew word for “House of mercy” or “House of grace”. This particular pool though is also descriptively called Disgrace or Shame because the pool is surrounded by so many sick and invalid people that are waiting for an angel to stir the waters up, and once that is done, the first SICK PERSON THAT IS STRONG ENOUGH to jump in gets healed. Wow! Did you get why I put that sentence in caps? You are about to know if not.
TOO WEAK TO BE HEALED.
And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. John 5:5–7
It’s difficult to imagine what situation this man was in. He was too sick to get healed, there were other sick people that get in front of him, simply because he wasn’t strong enough.
but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
Each time the pool is stirred, he tries to get into the pool, but a stronger sick person get’s steps ahead him, or as Evangel would say:
“When I get nearer, call me a mirror, how they step in front of me/ Maybe I’m a boulder, a tree stump/ Something that they’re climbing over, like a speed bump”
So after all, Bethesda wasn’t for everybody. It wasn’t for people that don’t have a little power left in them. I mean heaven help those who help themselves right? If you are tooooo sick, fam! Bethesda ain’t for you bruh. If you are too sinful, Bethesda can’t save you either, you would need a little bit of self righteousness, just enough to get you into the pool once the angel stirrs up the water. And lest I forget to mention, the troubling doesn’t happen often, just once in a while, and when it happens, it heals just the first person that jumps in — The strongest sick person. Weldone Bethesda!
BETHESDA POOL IS A TYPE OF THE LAW, AIN’T IT?
The bible speaks in numerous places of righteousness without works, but by total dependence on christ’s finished works. The Law on the other hand, promises righteousness only when you do well, only when you are strong enough to jump into the pool. That explains why many people like my guy who’s been ill for 38 years couldn’t get healed; because they are not strong enough, and they can’t save themselves. Man, at his best is incapable to please God no matter how hard he tries. God is basically pleased by deeds that proceed or are birthed from faith.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him..
Pools like Bethesda makes it impossible for people that are really sick to get healed. It only gives Healing to sick people that still have confidence in their strength. It is for those that can afford it. So while Bethesda means “house of grace” it doesn’t function as such. Grace doesn’t give what is deserved. If it does, it wouldn’t be grace; it would be a wage, a recompense for works. Grace is unmerited. It’s too good a salary for anybody to work for. It’s too good a salary that it is not a salary. It is simply grace.
JESUS, THE POOL THAT COMES TO US.
When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?. John 5:6
Jesus is not a house of grace. He is grace! He doesn’t wait for us to come to him, he comes to us. Jesus approached the sick man asking him “Do you want to be healed”? The man didn’t need to go to the pool, he didn’t need to be strong enough to get to the pool, the pool came to him. Hallelujah!
We don’t need to be clean to come to him, or strong enough to be healed, in our weakness is His strength made manifest. He doesn’t get troubled once in a while like the pool, it is always stirred, we don’t have to struggle to get in, there’s enough room for everybody, the healing is not for one person — the first to jump in — but it is for the whole world. It is sufficient like that. This is not a house of grace, this is Grace himself!.