Two Pools, Two Men, One Jesus – Faith at Work
“Jesus said onto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk”. John 5:8 “Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: I went and washed, and I received sight”. John 9:11.
Once upon a time, there were two pools, two men, one blind, and one lame, and one Jesus. One man got healed outside the pool, and the other inside the pool. The pools of Bethesda (John 5:8) and Siloam (John 9: 11) portray stories of faith that transcend the ordinary. Life brings choices embedded in culture, context custom and consequence. The lame man at the pool of Bethesda, that ritual mikveh of a bathing house had to make a choice. He’d been hanging out poolside, crippled for 38 years. It was customary to bathe at the “pool of five porches”. The crowd of impotents hung out there waiting to be healed by the rushing waters. Culture, custom and context led to conditioned and consequential choice. Day after day, someone got into the stirring waters before he did. He could think of nothing else than “to get to the pool”. He had learnt and rehearsed the sequenced efficiency of ritual faithfully and well. “Get to the pool, my brother and strive for the mastery. Do all these things FIRST, that you have been taught. This was a call for complete faith and trust that ran against the grain of tradition.
The other man at Siloam, blind from birth, had just about given up. Then he met a man, who spat on the ground, mixed spittle with clay and bade him go wash in the Siloam mikveh. It was a stretch to believe in a man, he could not see, to find his way to a pool that he had never seen, and to follow an instruction, that seemed illogical. Here was another call for complete faith and trust. Caught in the cross-fire of doing the right thing, as against the thing right, both men had to make a choice, a decision of faith and trust that took them outside of their comfort zone.
It is so simple to continue doing what we have been always doing, preoccupied with doing the thing right, to be efficient and orderly in arranging all the ducks in a row, that it may not occur that the ducks might not be worth arranging at all. While efficient, effectiveness may be lost, when the right thing is not selected. Sometimes, we are called to abandon the barriers of tradition and the fields of circumcision, to embrace the Gentiles, and to reach beyond the covenant to grace, for to be effective is to choose a sure destination. Lord, I’ve got me two pools. I am blind and lame, and I am come to you just as I am. Help me Jesus to trust you by faith, so that I can be healed from my blindness, and cured of my lameness, for in Thee do I rest.
May this be our prayer today and evermore, as we continue to trust in Jesus. By faith I take up bed and head away from the pool; by faith, I head toward the pool, to wash away the clay in my eyes, so that I can see Jesus face to face. It’s not the pool that matters; it is the faith that counts.