As soon as I began to walk into the ruins, I was filled with the desire to pray for healing for my own physical illness, with which I have been struggling for a while (though not as long as the 38 years of the paralytic man!). I quickly found the priest, Fr. Sebastian, who was helping to lead our group, and he eagerly agreed to help. In a quiet place, he laid his hands on my head and prayed, asking God for healing. (He would have also anointed me there, if he had oil with him!)
Through Fr. Sebastian, Jesus came into the pool with me, asking the Father for His will to be done in me. It was not the Father's will at that moment for physical healing, but each time I ask for healing, I trust that He is healing spiritual ills a little at a time--those ills which paralyze me the most.
When we get frustrated by our various infirmities, Jesus is asking us, as He asked the paralytic man, "Do you want to be healed?" Let us not turn inward on ourselves, but look quickly to Him and ask for healing! And then let us quickly trust that He is raising us from our beds of sickness, by the power of the grace of baptism and of all of the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments), and in our lives of prayer and love. He is healing us so that we may be able to remain with Him in faith, just as He is always with us in our sickness, calling out to us.
"O Lord, with Your divine authority, as You once raised the paralytic, now raise my soul, paralyzed dreadfully with all kinds of sin and disgraceful deeds, that, being saved, I may cry out to You: Glory to Your power, O merciful Christ" (Kontakion of the Paralytic Man).(The icon to the right is hanging on the wall in the pilgrim house located next to the Pool of Bethesda.)