John’s Fifth Chapter – A Poem by Kristen Sykes



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

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