"Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me." Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk." Jn 5: 7-8
Many years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Central America for the first time. I was excited about the trip and anxious for it to begin, but after a few weeks I was ready to come home. My body reacted against the water. Even though I was careful to drink only water that had been boiled for twenty minutes, I got sick and could not stay hydrated or keep food down. Ever since I have prayed and worked for people in the developing world to have clean water. Water is essential to every form of life, but impure water kills. Even today 400 children die in the developing world every hour. (1) Working for clean water around the world is an act of justice that Christians need to support.
Today's scripture texts are all about water. Ezekiel has a vision about water flowing from the temple until it becomes a river that supports and nourishes every living creature. God wants us to live, the scripture reminds us, and to have clean water that sustains us. The gospel is about the waters to which the man sick for 38 years was unable to reach. Remarkably, Jesus asks him, "Do you want to be well?"
This is a question we all need to ask. If God makes us well it is not simply for our own healing. God heals us to go out in an other centered way to announce the Good News of our ultimate healing. The sick man who Jesus heals must now walk towards others, and reconcile with those who failed to help him reach the water for 38 years. This is no easy task. Letting go of our hurt so that the waters of Baptism can cleanse us anew is a great challenge.
Today, ask God to heal you for his work.
Have you ever been healed by the compassion and understanding of others?