We all know the street level definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Pam and I see insanity almost every day in personal lives, marriages, and families. We see the same behavior and habits practiced day after day, and people have the insane idea that things will change for the better. Ain’t happening! Things won’t change without something fundamentally occurring in lives to change the insane loop they are on.
We see a depressing example of “insanity” in John 5:1-5, “Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 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. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.” In this story, a crowd of handicap people daily made their way to a pool in Jerusalem called Bethesda with the superstitious belief that an angel periodically would stir the water. Once stirred, the first person in the water would supposedly be healed. Let’s face it, it was a discouraging place for a community of disabled to hang out day after day without hope of being healed…insanity.
One of the “pool dwellers” helplessly had been sick for thirty-eight years. This man was incapable. Even if the superstition came true, it was physically impossible for him to be the first one in the pool. Insanity, and he does this daily!
H-O-W-E-V-E-R, something or should I say, “Someone”, changes the narrative. Verse 6 tells us what happens, “6 When Jesus saw (the invalid of 38 years) lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” Jesus does what He almost always does. In a crowd, He encounters an individual personally. Often these people are hopeless, helpless, and broken-hearted, impossible to help themselves. Learning from others about the man’s physical condition of thirty-eight years, Jesus engages this man, “Do you want to get well? Sir,’ the invalid replied (in verse 7), ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”’ For 38 years, he desires healing without any hope of getting into the water first…I-N-S-A-N-I-T-Y! “Then (in verses 8&9) Jesus says to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk. At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.’” Desiring to be healed, he responds immediately to the command of Jesus and starting walking.
Do you feel like the invalid of 38 years above? Day after day you live a life of drudgery with little hope. If so, the good news for you is Jesus loves the broken-hearted, the depressed, and the helpless. Psalm 34:18 declares, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” He will heal you. Stop the insanity and start the journey with Jesus today.