Houses of Kindness? Really

Is it time we asked ourselves some strong probing questions?


John 5:2-3 – Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.   In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.


For the sake of today’s writing, I ask you to consider the meaning of the name, “Bethesda.”  It means “house of kindness.”  Please don’t think this a harsh consideration, but let’s examine for a moment what was happening around the pool of Bethesda, and to do so, let’s look at a day in a doctor’s office.  I have a good personal physician.  He is a fine Christian doctor.  We often speak of his work, and he always asks about my ministry and strength for it.  He has a true heart for the work of the Lord.  When I go to his office for an appointment, I fully expect to see him, and I do.  My time with him is usually short, my being there for a routine check-up.  I am thrilled to say I am healthy and strong, and that my doctor understands how the pressures and stresses that come against ministers can be so impactful.  I find him to be a very compassionate and kind doctor.

 But what if I needed to see him, and instead of an appointment, I had to be taken to his office daily, left in the waiting room where there is shelter from the elements, water, and a restroom, hoping against hope that I might be the only person he would see that day?  (I know for a fact that hundreds of patients are seen in his office daily.)  Would you call that a “kind” place?  I think not.  Rather it is a place that barely keeps hope alive, and that only for the ones who survive.

Now think of the pool of Bethesda (the pool of the “house of kindness”).  Multitudes came (or were taken) there daily.  All that kept them coming was a glimmering, though constantly waning, hope.  Faith was not a present entity around that pool.  Can any true kindness be seen in such a chance meeting with the power needed to heal?  I can’t tell you why this continued to happen with an almost hopeless irregularity.  I can’t tell you why the people kept coming.  But one thing I know is the pool of Bethesda really didn’t live up to its name.

How do our churches relate to this scene today?  Is salvation, healing, deliverance, and miraculous provision only occasional events?  Are attendees coming in faith, or only in a waning hope?   Are our churches truly houses of prayer, or are they places where it is said, “we commune with God,” while in fact we are dreaming?  I know these are strong questions, but it is time we ask them of ourselves.  A great work needs to be done, and only by the hand of our Lord will we see it.  Are we willing to honestly inquire of ourselves as to our next steps, and then, are we willing to take them?  Pray, my friend, pray! 

Manna for Today – John 5:1-17


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