JOHN’S FIFTH CHAPTER
The morning sun beat down on me
The colonnade shadowed gracefully
Another day spent by the pool
My dampened rag to keep me cool.
Only the mat twixt me and stone
The pavement felt in every bone
I used my hands to move my feet
And shift my weight upon that seat.
Eight and thirty years long spent
In hope, despair, a new repent
Th’endurance proves that God is real
This length of trial’s beyond my zeal.
My eyes grew heavy with the heat
I dozed and dreamed—my dream was sweet
It seemed quite near a Presence stood
And peace as a river began to flood.
It was later I was told
He’d stepped his path past young and old
His eye upon me all the way
His only thought of me that day.
It was His voice how sweet the sound
Brought me from dream to solid ground
Its tone and music first I heard
Which then distilled into His Word.
Wilt thou be whole was His demand
I said, I’ve really done all I can
I promise, I’ve tried, I’ve worked the rule
But I’m never the first into the pool.
My stammering, babbling, foolish defense
Of all my efforts up to hence
Evaporated in His grace
As I looked up and saw His face.
Take up your pallet, rise and walk
The power to heal flowed through His talk
At once my legs were strong and whole
At once I did as I was told.
Stunned with joy and strength and health
That when I turned He’d gone in stealth
I turned, I moved, I carried me
I stepped, I walked, I cried with glee.
The freedom to move here and there
Was almost more than I could bear
My feet were drunk with movement fast
Until I through the temple past.
I sought my God Who’d sent that Man
To lift me up so I could stand
Surely He would be here too
A holy man, a prophet true.
I was met by men of law
My touch with grace right through them saw
Thirty-eight years under its weight
Thrown off near Jerusalem’s lower gate.
I scoffed their word, I would obey
And carry my mat on the Sabbath Day
As yet I knew not the One
Who healed my body under Sabbath’s sun.
He was not through; He found me then
And said I must be born again
He reached deep in past flesh and bone
Where heart and soul from sin did groan.
This time the healing pierced so deep
I knew that I was God’s to keep
Eternal life within me surged
Sin and shame had all been purged.
Jesus Jesus is His Name
It is in Him my freedom came
I hurried to tell the men of law
That they might too see what I saw.
The blind around Bethesda’s pool
Could see much better than those fools
They preferred the bondage yoke
And Him they plotted to provoke.
The Father, The Son, do work, travail
Their work alone does thus avail
To men salvation, wholeness, life
Victors in the midst of strife.
How can I thank You, Jesus, Lord
My story a part of th’eternal Word
Reveal Yourself to those who read
Of that great day when I was freed.
by Kristen Sykes