Be Intentional About What You Want

“Do you want to be well?”

Jesus asked the man with an unspecified illness at the edge of the Pool of Bethesda at the Temple that question.

We would expect the man to answer, “Yes! Of course! Please!”

Instead, the man whined and complained. “There’s no one around to help me into the water when it stirs and other people get there first.” (There was a superstition that when the water stirred in the pool an angel caused it and was there to heal the first person who dipped into it.)

Jesus evidently ignored the whining. He told the man to stand up, pick up his mat, and to go and sin no more and he would be well.

There is so much we don’t know. What was his sin that caused his illness? Indeed, what was his illness? Why did Jesus pick him? Why did Jesus ignore his whining and heal him?

None of this is the point of the story that John tells in his Gospel. But that’s OK. It’s worth contemplating.

How do we answer?

If someone walks up and offers help, what is our response? Thanks? Or some sort of whining excuse?

A guy I know uses the term “intentional” often. Pray intentionally for things, he’ll say. Pray intentionally for God to bring people into your life or bring the right circumstances into your life.

I thought about that word as I contemplated this story. Are we intentional about seeking healing? Are we intentional about seeking help for our challenges? Do we even know what we want?

Self-help gurus talk about goal setting. That can be a useful activity. However, being intentional about the kind of person we want to become or about healing us of our problems (physical, mental, emotional or spiritual) is really our first step toward a life in the Spirit.

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