Lenten Devotional: Wednesday, March 20

Psalm 72Psalm 119:73-96Jeremiah 3:6-18Romans 1:28—2:11John 5:1-18

But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.” John 5:17

Today’s reading is John 5:1-18. It is the story of Jesus who is in Jerusalem for a Jewish festival. He arrives at a pool at Bethesda, known for its healing properties. Jesus encounters an invalid who has been sick for a very long time. Jesus orders the man to “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk”. The invalid obeyed Jesus. At once the man was cured. Jesus later tells the man “stop sinning or something worse may happen to you”.

It was long believed by Christian historians that John’s Gospel of this story and its location was simply metaphor. In the 19th century archeologic digs discovered a large tank which was later identified as the remains of the pool of Bethesda of which John described. The first miracle of course is the healing of the invalid. The second miracle however is the scientific evidence that this is an actual, factual accounting of real people at real places in a real period of time. Like the movie title suggests “Jesus is Real”! If you Google search “Pool of Bethesda” you will find photos of a real and lovely place. An important place. The definition of Bethesda is: “House of Mercy.” May we all take Jesus’ advice to stop doing the things in our lives we know to be wrong. May we always live in a house of mercy. May we always know God’s love and realize that His love truly is “real” not just a great story.