Later on, Jesus went to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, there’s a pool called Bethesda (an Aramaic word). The pool is encircled with five rows of columns, which are shaded. A lot of people with various disabilities—blindness, mobility challenges, paralysis—hung out there. One of them was a man who had been disabled for 38 years. Jesus saw him lying there and struck up a conversation. When he found out how long he had been disabled, Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be free of your disability?”
“Sir,” the man replied, “When the water starts to bubble, I try to get in the pool, but I never make it in time because I don’t have anyone to help me. Other people always beat me to it.”
Then Jesus said, “Just get up already! Take that mat you’re lying on and get going.” Immediately, the man stood up, picked up his things and off he went.
It was a Saturday, the Jewish holy day, and the Jewish religious leaders busted the guy for walking with a mat, saying, “Hey, you can’t carry that today! It’s a holy day and it’s against the law to carry anything.”
But he replied, “Listen, I just got healed and the man who made it happen told me to pick up my mat and get going, so that’s just what I’m going to do.”
They asked, “Who was this guy who told you to pick up your mat and get going?”
The man looked around but couldn’t spot Jesus because he had slipped away in the crowd, and he hadn’t bothered to ask his name.
Later Jesus ran into him at the temple and said, “Look at you, you’re all better! Now you better start living right or you’ll be worse off than before.”
The man went off and found the Jewish leaders and reported to them that Jesus was the one who had restored his abilities.