People, events, and circumstances often bring out the worst in us. Yes, I know that we are to be patient and forgive seventy times seven, but some people seem to delight in provoking me (Matt. 18:22). Yes, I know that events occur that are unpleasant, such as renewing our driver's license, court hearings, doctor's appointments, family reunions, etc., but we are expected to take up our "cross" and "put on a happy face" (Mk. 10:21). Yes, I know that flat tires, poor service, health problems, faulty appliances, bad weather, etc. are beyond our control, but we are to "count it all joy" when we face trials (Jam. 1:2). On my best day, I am merely depressed when faced with these things, but for the most part, I am full of anger, frustration, and an avid complainer.
While talking to a brother about the difficulty of being Christ-like, I was reminded of the days before I became a Christian, when I was constantly getting into trouble because I was constantly drinking. We both agreed that our drinking did not cause us to be immoral or break the law; it simply weakened our inhibitions so that our true nature could raise its ugly head. When we were drinking, we did not care what the rules were or what should do; we did what we wanted.
In John 5:2-16, we are told of a pool that had the ability to heal when an angel stirred the water. Apparently this pool was well known, because when Jesus passed by, there was a great multitude waiting to be healed. There are some unusual facts about this incident. The pool only healed one person when the water was stirred, and that person had to be the first to step into the water. What about those who could not step into it?
I find it strange that Jesus only healed one man. I do not recall any other time when Jesus did not heal everyone that needed healing, except where He encountered rejection (Matt. 13:58). I find it strange that an individual who was unable to walk would lie beside the "healing pool" for thirty-eight years, knowing he could not possibly be the first to enter it. I find it strange that someone with a minor ailment would not be willing to help him. I find it strange that God would only use this one pool to heal only one person.
Perhaps the healing was limited to one pool because it forced everyone to go there. Perhaps the reason that Jesus only healed one man was that the others were selfish and unwilling to help the paralyzed man. The pool not only served as a place of healing, it served as a place of revealing. It revealed human nature at its worst. How many of us suffer illness, poverty, or some other loss because our lives are focused upon our needs instead of those less fortunate?