Greetings, dear readers, in the precious name of Jesus, whose I am & whom we serve. I believe God’s hand is upon each of us, stirring us up to achieve great things for His glory. My recent ministry trip to India was very blessed & fruitful as I saw the Lord moving mightily wherever I ministered, touching lives & stirring up the people to rise up for Him. Speaking of ‘stirring’, the Lord dropped that Word into me on my journey to India in a strange way, explaining what it really meant in the spiritual realm. With prayers I am about to share what God has been speaking to me from John 5: 1-8. Here is a link to the Bible passage for your reading before we proceed.
Our meditation centers on the incident of the healing of the invalid man who had been ill for 38 years waiting for the stirring of the waters by the angel in order to receive his healing. The Lord directed my focus on the word ‘stir’, even as the stewardess on the flight I traveled served me a cup of tea, with a stirrer in it, which captured my attention. As I was intrigued by the stirrer I began to ponder on what God meant by the stirring of waters at the pool that brought about healing to the first person who entered the waters. The Lord began to stir me up in His word!
The word stir is used in most modern translations while the KJV uses the word ‘troubled’ .The original Greek word for it is ‘Tarasso’ which means to agitate, trouble , to cause one inward commotion, make restless, to stir up. The calm waters of Bethesda were suddenly stirred by the angel, drawing attention to those who needed healing. The afflicted people around the pool had to have their constant attention 24 hours a day, waiting desperately for the angel to come & trouble the waters. The sorrowful side of this was that no matter how vigilant they were, only one person amongst the huge crowd received their healing. This reminds me of the Old Testament times of the Law, the cumbersome yoke that people had to carry in order to please God. The sinful human nature inherited from the fallen Adam was prone to fall despite all the legalistic care taken in order to keep the law. The price they paid for sin was by sacrificing & shedding the blood of a lamb. Jesus acknowledges the burden of the Law in Matthew 23:4 “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger”. The healing that was so desperately needed at Bethesda involved drudgery & toil. The sick had to work very hard in order to receive the healing, yet not all were healed. After 38 years of waiting in disappointment the sick man says to Jesus in verse 7 “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”. Although this poor man knew the rules it was impossible to keep it up since the very condition he was in made it impossible to move forward in order to be delivered from that condition!
During my adolescent days, caught up in sin’s firm grip, many people would approach me & ‘prophecy’ over me pointing out my sins. Having been bestowed with a conscience like everybody else, I knew I was living in deep sin without the need for someone to tell me. While many pointed out my sins, nobody showed me a way out of my sins! I was told that in order to receive Jesus & His forgiveness I must first clean up my act! In the above passage we see that in order for the invalid to receive his healing, the physical effort & strength needed to jump into the waters was lacking. The irony in his situation was that he needed to be healed first in order to rise up & receive his healing! Hebrews 4:16 says “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” .Unfortunately, as there was no confidence instilled in me, I felt overwhelmed with condemnation. The above verse does not state ‘let us draw near with condemnation’ but calls us to come to God with confidence. I thank God that He opened my eyes to this Word if not I would have never drawn anywhere near God!
The invalid had his eyes intensely focused on the stirring of the physical waters for his healing & he failed to recognize the Lord of the Living Waters standing right next to Him. Jesus was going around in Bethesda healing all who were oppressed & sick (Acts 10:38) but the sick folk at Bethesda preferred to do things their own way although most ended up disappointed. Very often we too look for other sources for our healing, blessings or deliverance. The sources that are supposed to bail us out most often fail, yet we have great hope in these sources & forget the Lord who is standing by our side with arms open wide. In Psalm 121 the great King David sings “From where shall my help come”? 2. He does not state that it comes from all the great resources of His kingdom. Instead he confidently declares “My help comes from the Lord”. When Jesus stood by the invalid, with a burning passion in Him to heal the sick, He asks him with a straight question, “Do you wish to get well?” .So many times in our pursuit for deliverance we forget what we came for in the first place. The invalid’s eyes were glued on the waters & all he needed was to hear some stirring of the water so he could spring in.
Apart from the Angel of God stirring up the waters on some rare occasion the waters might have caused a ripple so very often stirred by the wind. The sick there might have even jumped into water only to realize it was just the wind. The Holy Spirit reminds me of Ephesians 4:14 “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;” People are desperately going to & fro in their spiritual lives caught be several winds of doctrines & forget to focus on God’s word. At the pool of Bethesda the sick might have been disappointed several times by a deceptive stirring of water only to realize, that after all their vain efforts, it was a fish or a tadpole stirring up the water! We come across ‘believers’ going to & fro looking for deliverance. In the end they come back to square one, feeling deceived. This is because they do not look to Jesus, the author & perfecter of their faith (Heb 12:2) & are looking everywhere else for their answers. Some give up while others pursue fervently behind the wrong source instead of pursuing God who is in pursuit of us!
God is stirring the waters of our lives. It results in restlessness in our spirits making us want to hunger & thirst for God & seek Him to find Him. The same Holy Spirit that was hovering over the waters in Genesis 1:2 is hovering over our lives stirring us up & drawing us to the Living God. The invalid could not recognize Jesus who was standing by his side since he was expecting healing from an occasional angel. The God who is near to the broken hearted is always standing by our side (Ps 34:8).The Word is near to us than ever before (Rom 10:8),yet we are unwilling to go directly to Jesus & read His word to find out the truth that would set us free. Here was a man trying to work his way up to receive his deliverance, but the God of all grace gives us His eternal salvation not by works but by His sheer grace alone: Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Many of us have the Holy Spirit in our lives, lying latent in our hearts. The stewardess gave me a stirrer and sachets of sugar to add in the tea. After I had added the sugar I had to stir it up in order for sweetness to rise up & spread, that I may taste & relish it. Very often we are content with being filled with the Holy Spirit a long while back & we fail to stir up the spirit in our hearts through an active Christian life involving reading God’s word, praising Him & sharing His love to others. Therefore we are unable to ‘taste & see the goodness of God’ (Ps34:8).We often wait for an ‘angel’ to come & stir the waters of our lives but neglect our relationship with the savior of our lives. We get into legalistic works trying to please God forgetting it is our faith in Him that pleases God (Heb 11:4).We cry out to God saying that there is no man who can understand us while Jesus knows our every weakness! Here is Jesus, standing next to us, stirring our hearts towards Him through the Word & promptings of the Holy Spirit. Not only do we yield to His stirring but we too must stir up the gift of God, which is already in us when we received the Holy Spirit (2 Tim1:6) in order to live a dynamic life for God that we may touch others through our lives.
8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” 9 Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.
Jesus calls us today, to rise up from our passive position, rise up from looking in the wrong direction to the old sources of religion & now look to Him. All over the world the spirit of God is moving mightily. He is reviving every heart that yields to Him, healing & delivering them through His mighty power. The question is where are we waiting? Jesus who came in search of the invalid is seeking us today to turn away from the dead works of the flesh & turn towards him who is knocking at our door. If we yield to Him He will stir our lives like never before. It is time we picked up our pallets, our outwardly religious ways, cast it aside & walk towards Him to receive all that He has in store for us. Are we in readiness for God?