THE FIFTH CHAPTER of John (see John 5:1-9) records one of Jesus' most remarkable healings. It involves a man Jesus encountered at the pool of Bethesda who had suffered from an "infirmity thirty and eight years."
This pool was surrounded by a "great multitude" of people who were waiting for an "angel" to come down and "trouble the water." It was believed that the first person to step into the water, following this event, would be "made whole of whatsoever disease he had."
I experienced one of these moments of spiritual awakening.
When Jesus found the man, he asked him, "Wilt thou be made whole?" It was a direct question requiring a direct answer. The man's response is memorable for its pronouncement of helplessness, "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me." The master Christian was known for his compassion. But his explicit, bold instruction in this case was, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk." And the man did just that.
Recently, I was pondering this healing when I saw something I'd previously overlooked. It came to me that one reason why Jesus could give this command with such firm assurance might have been that the man had confirmed he already believed healing was possible. In fact, this was the shared belief of all the people gathered around the pool.
While this was a good first step, the man's comments revealed something else. The answer he gave to Jesus proved that he had also accepted self-imposed restrictions—the idea that he'd been left to fend for himself in this condition for a long time. But the truth, represented by the Christ and voiced by the Savior, broke through the suffering, and the man was instantaneously healed.
A number of years ago, I experienced one of these moments of spiritual awakening. I had a painful foot condition that made it difficult to walk. For about a week I hobbled around with little improvement. I called a Christian Science practitioner for help through prayer. One of the passages from Mary Baker Eddy's writings that the practitioner mentioned was, "The illusion of material sense, not divine law, has bound you, entangled your free limbs, crippled your capacities, enfeebled your body, and defaced the tablet of your being" (Science and Health, p. 227).
As I prayed, I began to see my true spiritual selfhood as a child of God. This enabled me to see more clearly that I could not be crippled or enfeebled by an "illusion of material sense." The Christ was speaking to my consciousness, asking me, "Wilt thou be made whole?"
Like the man beside the pool, I knew that healing was possible. And to take this further, I knew that God did the healing because I had been healed many times before through Christian Science treatment. I'd also witnessed, on numerous occasions, God's healing power in the lives of family members and friends.
This caused me to look more deeply into my thinking and prayers. I was being compelled to remove from my thought all self-imposed impediments like self-will, feelings of self-pity, and even questioning the understanding of my relationship to God.
Another of Mary Baker Eddy's statements in Science and Health was supportive: "A spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive" (p. 463). The metaphysical truth contained in this passage helped me to root out and discard the matter-based beliefs that were binding me. It was then that the healing came. After a night of painless sleep, I awoke in the morning to find that I could respond to the Christ command, "Rise and walk." Within a few days, all evidence of the condition was gone and has never returned.
This beautiful promise of divine healing was demonstrated for the man at the pool of Bethesda. It is this same healing power of God that I experienced and is presently being experienced every day by people around the world.
This article originally appeared on spirituality.com
Ronald Warncke, a retired business owner, lives in Holland, Michigan. He and his wife, Deborah, enjoy golfing, sailing, and strolling along the shores of Lake Michigan.