The man was lying curled up in the sun, like a pile of rags thrown there by accident. The man barely looked like a human, but those who crossed the door to get in and out of Jerusalem recognized him. As far as they can remember, this place was his. He was crippled, dropped off there every morning by a member of his family, and picked at the end of the day.
Since years, the pool of Bethesda was a real human museum: the lame, the blind, the deaf, the lepers, and so on, met there, as rumour claimed that an angel would sometimes stir the waters (nobody knew exactly when) and the first patient to get in was cured. A sort of lottery. And like all lotteries, desperate hope for a miracle. So in theory, the man was not alone.
But as no one had really spoken to him, long ago, he first thought the question was for someone else. Squinting into the sun, he did not recognize the face leaning over him. The cripple then asked him to repeat his question, perhaps he had misunderstood. If the voice was soft, the question seemed harsh, even cruel, “do you want to be healthy?” (John 5:1-9)
“What kind of question is that? What other purpose could I have spending every day of the last thirty-eight years lying here? He mocks me.” The man was accustomed to ridicule and suffered a lot of harassment. However, his vision was adjusted to the light, he could identified his interlocutor, and his eyes too. There was no trace of mockery in him. Obviously, this man takes his question seriously and expects an answer: “What do you want?”. Who would dare ask such a shocking question? JESUS! Obviously this man wanted to be healed. Not need to be God.
Really? Like most questions asked by Jesus, this one had a greater purpose than it seemed. Of course, Jesus knew the answer, but what about the man did he know It? All his life had been shaped by suffering. Every day, he had wanted only one thing. No question of wealth. No question of celebrity. NO, this man’s life was summed up in a simple but inaccessible DESIRE: WALK! So he was at this place for thirty-eight years, hoping to hit the jackpot.
Since when did he start to get discouraged? How long can we maintain our desire when disappointment is perpetual? Some resist longer than others, but ultimately, we all reach a state of resignation, cynicism or bitterness. Over the years, this man, as some of us, lost all vital link with the desire of his heart. He had given up his desire.
Asking him what he wanted, Jesus brought him into the secret of his own heart, to his deepest desire. Why? Because the desire must be our destination if we want to meet God.
It may be surprising, but Christianity is not an invitation to morality, or a program to conform to our society or to reform it. Christianity, essentially, begins with an invitation to desire. It has a powerful effect on our lives, but this transformation always start in your HEART!
“WHAT DO YOU WANT?”