Or drove by the gates of that fancy neighborhood and thought, “Must be nice to live there.”
Or looked at someone and felt annoyed they always seem to have the perfect life.
Sometimes it can seem like everyone else has…
a better house.
a newer car.
a dreamier boyfriend.
a stronger marriage.
an easier time getting pregnant.
better-behaved kids or grandkids.
a perfectly-trained dog that doesn’t have accidents in the house. (Hershey, hint, hint).
an easier transition to empty-nesting.
a larger retirement account.
a better life.
Maybe I’m the only one who feels jealousy.
If you’re human, sooner or later, you’ll experience the twinges of the green eye.
In Day 9 of the #LentChallenge of #Beloved, we dive into the deep end of the pool of comparison—literally.
In John 5:1-17, we walk toward the pool of Bethesda. The sight stops us in our tracks.
A child missing a hand.
A blind elderly man.
A woman covered in open wounds.
A grandmother with three curled fingers remaining.
And many more…
All wait for the moment the water stirs. The first to touch will walk in full health again.
Reading this story, I always focused on the man who became well again.
But I never saw all those precious humans gathered, waiting, competing.
This gruesome competition is The Race to the Ripple.
Whoever splashes first dances away a victor.
The rest feel defeated, left in their own pools of suffering. More times than any can count.
Imagine the jealousy, the envy toward the one who walked away whole.
Yet one man doesn’t race to the ripple. He’s intercepted by Jesus with a 7-word question:
Do you want to get well again?
Soooooo much packed into sooooo few words.
That’s the question that penetrates my heart.
When it comes to the jealousy toward those who work less for more, who live bigger, better lives, whose shortcuts seem to pay off, it’s easy for my eyes to turn jade(d) with envy.
(Writing tip: Thought about using emerald, but jade offered a double plan on the meaning).
But Jesus asks, “Do you want to get well again?”
Healing never happens by looking at everyone else, their possessions, their accomplishments, the social media likes and shares and ratings and lists and promotions.
Healing awaits in Jesus.
I sense the Holy Spirit nudging, “If you want to get well again, stop looking to them and start looking to me.”
I am to pick up my bed—the place where I’ve nestled in disempowering beliefs, resentment, and contempt—and follow Christ.
Leave the place I’ve nestled to find the True Nest.
To walk lighter and more joyful. Where others’ success incites celebration. Where joy triumphs.
This is what I least wanted to read but most need to hear.
Now let me ask you:
What did you least want to read but most need to hear in today’s reading?
(If you have any questions post them below. We’ll be collecting and gathering responses for insight from New Testament scholar, Craig Blomberg in the upcoming weeks).
Day Nine: John 5:1-17 Discussion Questions:
- Margaret describes the envy stirred up by social media and fancy neighborhoods. What places or actions stir jealousy in you?
- What steps can you take to remove yourself from those sources of jealousy?
- What does it look like for you to answer Jesus’ invitation: Do you want to get well again?
- Using the Color Method, what stood out to you most from today’s reading?
- What do you find most challenging about today’s reading? What do you find most comforting about today’s reading?
- The Gospel According to John – Leon Morris
- The Gospel of John – Craig S. Keener
- John – Andreas J. Kostenberger
- Fight Back With Joy:Celebrate More, Regret Less, Stare Down Your Greatest Fears – Margaret Feinberg
Need to catch up? See below for previous blog posts during our Lenten season: