grasping at straws
Devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2394
Joh 5:1 After these events, it was Jewish festival time, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Joh 5:2 By the Sheep Gate in the Jerusalem complex there is a pool, called Bethesda in Aramaic, which has five porticoes.
Joh 5:3 Within these a large number of the disabled– blind, lame, and paralyzed had been placed.
Joh 5:5 One man was there who had been sick for thirty-eight years.
Joh 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there and realized he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to become whole?”
Joh 5:7 “Sir,” the disabled man answered, “I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, another goes down ahead of me.”
Joh 5:8 Jesus says to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and start walking.”
Joh 5:9 Instantly the man became whole, picked up his mat, and started to walk. But it was the Sabbath on that day.
grasping at straws
I have had some friends who have faced long periods of terminal illness. It was a sad and terrible time for all of them, and those of us who waited and prayed with them. I do not know why our prayers went unanswered. Someday I will know.
In a desperate attempt to reverse their conditions, my friends usually started taking more vitamins, doing certain exercises — anything that might make a difference. We call it “grasping at straws” which the Cambridge dictionary defines as “trying to find some way to succeed when nothing you choose is likely to work.”
Verse four of this text does not appear in the best manuscripts, but it was probably an accurate description of the reason that the man had been placed among the porticoes.
John included this story to set up the stories of the Sabbath controversies. But it also tells us that Jesus is the one who can make us whole when nothing else works.
Thank you , LORD, for giving us a way when there is no other way.