There are different views about the angel that “stirred up the water” of Bethesda. But, the critical issue in John 5 isn’t whether an angel actually stirred the water or the spring just bubbled at particular times to fuel overactive near-eastern superstitions. The point is that Jesus didn’t need the pool for the kind of miracles He was doing. So, when Jesus went to Jerusalem for “a feast of the Jews” and spied a man stricken with a debilitating disease, he asked him: “Do you want to be made well?” Now, what kind of question is that? Why would anyone not want to be made well? One would expect this question to produce a resounding response of “Yes, definitely, you bet’cha!” But, what do we read? Excuses! “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.” For thirty-eight years, this man didn’t seem to be able to change his situation. Something always came between him and his goal.
Christians sometimes fall into the rigors of rationalization, particularly when failure after failure beats us down; it has to wear on our spiritual commitment. And, yet, God speaks to us everyday through His word, encouraging us to hold fast (Hebrews 3:6), to be patient (James 5:8), and be steadfast (1 Corinthians 15:58); “for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). In order to maintain this “stick-to-it” attitude, we must keep our focus on the power of Jesus. After a long battle as a paralytic, this man was made well, and there were no more excuses.
No matter how long you have been struggling to live the Christian life, no matter what stands between you and faithfulness, no matter how discouraged you might be, there are no excuses sufficient to stifle the power of God. When we submit to the Great Physician through His inspired word, we can change (Romans 12:1-2), become whole again (John 5:14), and enjoy the abundant life Jesus promised (John 10:10). And, there’s no excuse for not submitting to Christ right now. How will you respond?