The Gospel reading the other day was about a man who had been sick for 38 years.
He was lying near a pool but had no one to put him in the water that might have helped heal him.
Jesus saw him there and asked him, “Do you want to be well again?”
And the man explained his dilemma, that he had no one to put him into the pool, and that he couldn’t get there in time for the water to rush over him.
So Jesus says, in the fifth chapter of John, “Get up, pick up your sleeping-mat and walk around.” And the man is healed.
Jesus’ miracles are always magnificent and breathtaking, but when I heard this story the other day, it didn’t strike me immediately how beautiful the exchange was.
Then our priest pointed out something particularly poignant: Jesus recognized the man’s need without the man seeking him out. The man didn’t call to Jesus or reach to touch his robe or have friends who carried him to meet Jesus.
He didn’t ask Jesus for anything. He merely answered Jesus’ question when Jesus asked.
Somehow, at this point in Lent, this seems like just the right reminder. By now in Lent, Easter feels somewhat distant, and we may be a little lost in the desert. There’s not much light in the darkness these days.
But Jesus knows what we need—before we ask.
He knows what we need—better than we do.
He sees and understands our every need. He sees us, lying and waiting for healing, not sure how we’ll get there, wishing we had some way to manage it, but not even knowing how to ask for help. He knows what we need today, what we’ll need tomorrow, and what we’ll need next year. He just knows.
This story makes me think that maybe we don’t need to ask. Maybe we just need to recognize Jesus when He speaks to us and be open to the miracle He might work in our lives. Maybe we can simply be ready to appreciate and act on whatever gift He might give us in these final weeks of Lent.
As we continue our walk toward Easter, seeking the light through the darkness, it’s so comforting to know that Jesus knows better than we do what we actually need.