There’s an old song by Ella Jenkins that I’ve been singing:

Wade in the water
Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children
God’s gonna trouble the water

This song references the story of the Israelites crossing over the river Jordan and has a rich meaning as a spiritual hymn. Even though this song isn’t talking about the New Testament account of the pool of Bethesda, I cannot help thinking about that story.

John 5 tells of a story of a pool in Jerusalem where many people who were lame, paralyzed, and blind would lie and wait for an angel to come down and touch the water. It was a place of desperation. This chapter explains an angel would come down and stir the water, and the first person to reach the water would be healed. You may think it would be silly to sit for years for a finite chance to be healed, but when you are desperate, you will do just about anything. Dignity and common sense are not a main priority.

Think of the person, or in this case, a man who sat next to the pool for 38 years. He was lame and missed his opportunity every time because he didn’t have anyone to help him into the pool.

Do you also feel like you have missed opportunities in your life? Do you feel like you would be further along if someone would have been there for you to help you along the way? 

When Jesus asked him if he wanted to be made whole, the man simply replied that he missed his chance. He will now need to wait 39 years or maybe even longer. 

Jesus said, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made whole, John 5:8-9. 

The man at the pool didn’t understand (at first) who was talking to him. Jesus, the healer, the savior, the God who can do anything, was talking with him. He didn’t understand that with Jesus there is no such thing as missed opportunity, only another day for an answered prayer, a healing, an encouraging word, deliverance—even if it has been 38 long years of waiting. 

The thing or person you’re praying for is not impossible, even if you’ve been waiting for a long time. I pray that God will trouble the waters in your life today. There is another opportunity waiting for you, His name is Jesus. There is hope. 


Angela Overton is a lover of words, nature, and coffee. She is an ordained minister with the UPCI, has a Masters Degree in Theology, and loves to teach Bible studies. She and her amazing husband, Michael, pastor in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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