The Pools of Bethesda, just outside the Temple in Jerusalem, were said to have healing powers. But one day, when a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years went to the pools for healing, he discovered the Source of all true healing. To find out what happened that day, take a look at this short video below, shot on location at the remains of the pools themselves. Then read on for encouragement that God still heals today.
So what happened at the Pools of Bethesda? That’s where Jesus healed a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
The man had apparently come to the Pools of Bethesda looking to be healed by the waters there. According to local tradition, there were times when an angel of the Lord would stir up the waters in the pools, and the first one into the water after such a disturbance would be healed. As a result, the Bible says,
“Here a great number of disabled people used to lie: the blind, the lame, the paralyzed” (John 5:3).
On one of Jesus’ visits to Jerusalem, He went to the pools and saw this man lying there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. Jesus asked:
“Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6b).
The man must not have know who was asking him this question, for he simply replied that he had no one to help him into the pool when the water was stirred. Little did he know that he was talking to the One who is the Source of all healing! But he was about to find out. In the next moment, Jesus did for him the miracle that he had waited so long to receive:
“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked” (John 5:8).
Jesus is known for many things, but His ability to heal ranks right at the top. The Bible says,
“And wherever He went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged Him to let them touch even the edge of His cloak, and all who touched Him were healed” (Mark 6:56).
As the “Author of Life,” as Peter called Him, Jesus is the One who knows best how to heal a life. When God designed our bodies, He designed them with healing in mind, knowing that we wouldn’t go through life unscathed. When doctors stitch up a wound or administer an antibiotic, they are often using techniques that simply tap into the body’s God-given ability to heal itself, helping to stimulate, accelerate, or otherwise facilitate the body’s built-in healing processes.
That’s why God said to Moses:
“…for I am the Lord who heals you”
And God is a healing God not just of our bodies, but of our hearts, minds, and souls as well. After healing the man at the pools, Jesus later found him again at the Temple and said to him:
“See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14).
Jesus wanted the man to be fully healed, not just in part, but the whole; not just in body, but in heart, mind, and soul.
Jesus’ healing power extends to all aspects of our lives. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he talks about people in the church there who had, in the past, suffered from all kinds of problems: sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, prostitution, homosexuality, thievery, greediness, drunkenness, slandering and swindling. But Paul goes on to say,
“And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
They were changed, healed, renewed, restored. How? In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. All healing—whether physical, mental, spiritual or emotional—comes from God, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and through His Holy Spirit.
Even those healings performed by doctors or nurses, psychologists or psychiatrists, mothers or fathers, or friends or family, ultimately come from the God who designed our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies.
If you need a healing in your life today, or know someone who does, I want to encourage you, and for you to encourage them, to come to Jesus, the Author and Sustainer of life itself.
Remember the man who was healed at the pools of Bethesda. Jesus touched him and said, “‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked” (John 5:8).
Remember the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, who had run out of money and doctors and all other options. She came to Jesus and said, “If I just touch His clothes, I will get well.” Then she touched His cloak, her bleeding stopped, and Jesus said, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:28, 34).
Remember King David, who suffered much at the hands of other men—and from his own sins, yet he wrote in the Psalms, “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…” (Psalm 103:2-3).
Remember James, the brother of Jesus, who called on those who were sick to come to Jesus in prayer for their healing: “Is any one of you sick? He should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well” (James 5:14-15a).
Remember Peter, who healed a crippled man who was begging for money outside the Temple by saying, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6). Then taking the man by the hand, he helped him up to his feet, which became strong again, and the man went walking and leaping and praising God.
Peter knew that it wasn’t his own power or strength that healed the man. He knew that he was just a conduit who reached out to the One True Source of healing: Jesus.
After the healing, Peter said,
“Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? … You killed the Author of Life, but God raised Him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see” (Acts 3:12,16).
If you’re sick, come to Jesus. If you’re worn out, come to Jesus. If you’ve run out of money and doctors and all other options, come to Jesus.
If you’re wrestling with unhealthy thoughts, words, or deeds, come to Jesus. If you’re worried sick and your emotions are shot, come to Jesus.
As Peter said,
“It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him that has given this COMPLETE healing to him, as you can all see.”
Do you want to get well? Come to Jesus. Let Him do His healing work in your life.
Father, thank You for being a God who heals. Thank You for wanting to make us whole and complete. Thank You for designing our bodies to heal themselves when possible, for giving us wisdom to facilitate that healing power when not, and for sending us Jesus, whom we believe can heal us supernaturally at any moment―even if we’ll been lame for thirty-eight years. In Jesus’ name, Amen.