The context here is John 5:1-15. Verse five is what hit me the hardest:
“One man was there who had been sick for 38 years.”
You can be healed of a condition, but how do you recover from being trained into a mindset, or from having your mindset reinforced by your circumstances?
How do you recover from a mental rut? Notice, in the dialogue, that Jesus led with the question, “Do you want to get well?” Notice that the man replied with a statement about how his circumstances made the healing impossible. Here is a thought I had about this: the man was stuck in his head that the healing could only happen that one way. In his distress, his weariness, and in the mind-numbing sameness of every passing day, this man had developed tunnel vision about his problem, and about what the solution could be. He became so focused on this one way, that when the true One Way confronted his situation, he did not comprehend it. This is as much a story about healing a man’s soul as it is healing a man’s body; Jesus saved the man from his incapacity to believe. Notice that after the man replied to Jesus with reasons he couldn’t be healed, Jesus did not ask or negotiate further, but said, “Get up, pick up your bedroll and walk.” I would daresay that He was not just there to heal a body, but to exorcise a mindset. I use the word “exorcise” intentionally, because the need is that serious. Healing is not a simple matter of just feeling better. You can’t keep thinking, living, and doing the same as you did before if you want the healing to take root and grow. You can get healed from the symptoms, but if it’s going to be real and transformative, you need to get free from the systems associated with the symptoms. There’s a Proverb that says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Does the heart stop being sick when the desire is fulfilled? I see no such guarantee here. Instead, I see that the fulfilled desire presents an opportunity to get well; “a tree of life.”
I do believe that God is speaking to me personally about these matters: I personally need this message, and still haven’t fully comprehended, let alone obeyed it. Therefore, I share not because I know more than anybody, but instead, I share in good faith that we are more alike than we are different, and thus this may bless you somehow.