3 Advent. John 5:1-9, The Message
People told the story in that ancient time and place, that occasionally a messenger of God would come and stir up the waters of the pool. The first sick person to touch the water would be made well. The rest would remain, waiting for it to be stirred again. The sick, the infirm and the desperate gathered to await the movement of God.
The man Jesus encountered had specific expectations of the work of God. When Jesus asked a silly question, as he was wont to do, the man replied, “I cannot be healed because I am too weak to step into the path of God.” But Jesus demonstrated that God’s path takes him directly to the hurting and broken. No dipping in a pool. No magic words or special ceremonies. Jesus showed up and exploded his expectations and ours, telling him simply, “get up.”
It is Advent, a season to remember that God shows up at just the right time, in very unexpected ways. God came to us in the form of a gurgling, drooling baby. Can you imagine the incarnate deity spitting up on your shoulder? He comes to us in bread and wine. He comes to us in the Christian Community he called together.
We believe this. This is a God we can trust. So we open ourselves up to him in the silence, and await his presence. We will discover, just as the folks at the Pool of Bethesda did, that he is already with us. He will come and heal us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
He may guide us into the consummation, when we will be raised up to be with him. He may strengthen our bodies, sometimes very quickly, and sometimes through a long rehabilitation. He will give us the grace to forgive others, and teach us to entrust ourselves to the Body of Christ. These are the signs and wonders we await.
The one who has begun a good work in us will bring it to completion.