5After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. 3In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” 8Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” 9At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath.
9During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”10When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them. 11We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. 13On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 15When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.
The thing that stood out to me with both readings this week was the water.. The man who was ill for 30 years and Lydia beside the river.. The lame man tired and weary, everyone beats him in. I have such compassion on him.. After 30 years of illness even the thought of getting into the water was too much. It looks like Jesus had compassion too. He doesn’t instruct him to get in now, he just says he is healed.. Too weary for any action Jesus met him where he was at.. Weary and broken and gave healing.
Lydia beside the river, reminded me of those who would have made it in before the lame man, the rebirthing of something new in great joy. The leap out of the water, healed and renewed. Her enthusiasm for what she learnt of the gospel was compelling. The image is of her coming out of the water at her baptism.
I was reminded how there are days in my faith where I am enthusiastic and motivated, a fire that cannot be put out.. Other days I am bone tired weary and can hardly move.. Godmeets me in both spaces, directing my enthusiasm towards hospitality and others when I are excited, letting me rest and being present with me as I are when it is not going so good.. I wonder where you are at? I wonder what happened next? Was there a slow recovery of the lame man, as he was slowly embraced back in his family and community did he grow in strength? Where did Lydia’s enthusiasm take her?