John 5:1-9 (NIV)
1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie�the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, �Do you want to get well?� 7 �Sir,� the invalid replied, �I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.� 8 Then Jesus said to him, �Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.� 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
This is the story of the Pool of Bethesda. The name Bethesda means �house of mercy�. It was said an angel would come from time to time to stir the waters and the first person to enter the water after the stirring of the waters would be healed.
Here we find a man that cannot walk. There are no wheelchairs. The pool of water is not fitted with rails or ramps for the disabled. The only way for this man to get there was by the mercy of his family and friends who would bring him in the morning and pick him back up in the evening.
Today though is this man�s fortunate day; for the Son of God walks up to him and asks him an important question, �Do you want to be healed?� Now remember this is Jesus. Jesus knows the suffering the man has endured. Jesus knows the man has been coming for thirty years. Jesus is not asking this question out of lack of information because He already knows the answer. Jesus wants the man to respond.
How does the man respond? Instead of saying yes-- he gave was an excuse as to why he was there. �I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.�
For thirty years this man had others carry him to the pool each morning. For thirty years he took handouts. For thirty years others came and picked him back up and carried him home. For thirty years others attended to his needs. Yet there was no one around for those thirty years to help him get in the pool. Amazing isn�t it! Or was it that the man enjoyed the attention more than his desire to be healed?
There are stories of addicts whose families have helped for years and yet there has been no healing. Why is that? The addict enjoyed the comforts or attention others were providing more than they wanted to be healed. The same was true for the man at Bethesda. He was enjoying the comforts others were providing and they enabled him by having a daily routine for themselves of taking him to the pool.
You can assist a person who wants help and genuinely wants to change. But when the person has no desire to change you are enabling their problem. Those who for thirty years carried the man down to the pool enabled him to feel pity and still enjoy comforts. For his answer wasn�t yes I want to be healed, but was instead and excuse of why he had not been healed.
Are you enabling or assisting? Ask does the person really want to change or are they happy where they are? Are they making excuses or saying help me through this for the betterment of myself?