by Christopher Harbin

Standing in God's Way
Christopher B. Harbin
1 Sam 8:1-9, 19-22; Ps 81:6-16; John 5:1-18; 2 Cor 4:7-5:1

He had lain there for thirty-eight years. That's a long time to sit around waiting on hope against hope for healing and a new lease on life. This man was older than Jesus. For longer than Jesus had been around, the man had been at the pool waiting. He had waited, lying at the edge of the pool for days, and weeks, and months, and years on end. He had dreamt of beginning life anew, likely only to receive healing after he became too old to do him any good. Yet he waited and waited some more.

The waters of this pool would occasionally be stirred, whether by some subtle tremor, the gurgling of a feeding spring, or the movement of wind on its surface. The people believed that when the water was stirred, it was by the activity of God or one of God's messengers. They saw God's presence, blowing on the water and would enter with the hope that God would heal them of their infirmities. This man had lain at the pool for thirty-eight years in hope that he might be one of the privileged to enjoy the blessing of God's healing.

Waiting had become a habit--a way of life. Despair had entrenched itself in the consistent denial of his healing, as others always got into the water first. He was focused on this means to gain healing. Even though he had been denied the opportunity time and again, he was dogged in his determination to gain healing from God through the troubled waters of this pool. He was so determined that this was the means of God's redemption, he missed God's presence in Jesus.

He was not the only one waiting at the pool. John tells us there were many others there, waiting, also. No doubt, others lay there as this man, day in and day out, anxious to receive the blessing of God's healing. Jesus singled this man out of the rest. He had been there the longest. He was determined. He had also lost hope. He was so focused on the pool as the m ...

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