July 20, 2020
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. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 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?”
The Bible talks about multiple facets of desire. At times, desire is what pulls us away from God. James talks about our desire dragging us away and making us sin. But here, and in his conversation with Bartimaeus in Mark, Jesus asks very directly, “What do you want? Do you want to get well?” He isn’t probing for secret sins or pitfalls. He asks about desire as if it’s a good thing.
Jesus doesn’t ask about what is right, what the scriptures say, or what their plans are. He asks about their desires. For both good and for ill, our desires tell us (and God) a tremendous amount who we are as people. Who we are in our deepest parts. What do your desires say about you?
Take a moment to look at your desires. Where do all of those desires come from? That’s the reason Jesus asked so specifically, “Do you want to get well?” In that question are the larger questions:
Who are you?
Who do you want to be?
What identity is sitting deep in your soul and being revealed in your most transparent moments?
Even our dark and sinful desires can reveal an aspect of our God-given identity. Our habitual sins like envy, pride, lust, and anger often point to a need we are trying to fill in unhealthy or selfish ways. So today, ask yourself the question, “What do I want?” and then listen. Listen to your desires – not what you think you should do or want. God is asking you the same question, and inviting you to walk into the self discovery your answers reveal.