The scene by the Pool of Bethesda must have been a soul-rending experience for any visitor with the capacity for empathy. Thanks to modern medicine, these horrific collections of desperately infirm people no longer exist … almost.
Learn More | Read Excerpt
When I served on the island of Okinawa, I played in the Third Division Marine Corps band. On one occasion, we were invited to a leprosarium on the north end of Okinawa to play a concert. The memory of those men and women will never leave me. Mangled bodies stumbled and pushed and pulled themselves along, each one bearing remnants of a human face. They sat in neat rows of chairs provided for them and they listened in rapt attention to our music. I could barely play my instrument through the sadness weighing upon my heart, seeing bodies horrifically distorted by the disease we now call Hansen’s disease. I’ll never forget the sound of their applause, which they offered by banging stumps of limbs together or tapping their crutches on the floor or against their chairs.
I would have given almost anything to have the power of healing that day. What a joy it must have been for Jesus to reach down into the sea of human depravity and snatch a soul from the clutches of disease! I sometimes wonder why He didn’t empty the asklempieion in Jerusalem instead of choosing just one man. Because He is good and infinitely wise, I trust His judgment. After all, He left the pristine realm of heaven to become one of us, to share our suffering, to experience death, and ultimately to end the tyranny of evil through His own sacrifice.
One day soon, Jesus will empty the hospitals, the leper colonies, and even the graveyards of the world. Then we will live in a world without darkness, sin, suffering, disease, and death. We have His promise on that. And I, for one, passionately anticipate that glorious day!
Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"
"Sir," the invalid 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."
Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. – John 5:3-9a
Read more from Chuck Swindoll at www.SwindollInsights.com