We all love to lie around the pool in the summer to relax and spend time reading and talking with friends. Splashing around in the pool, blowing bubbles in the water, and taking a leisurely swim is refreshing and calming on a hot summer day.
In the Bible reading, there was a pool in Jerusalem called Bethesda. People who needed healing would wait for the waters to bubble-up, then jump in. They believed that an angel created supernatural occurrences to move the waters. In addition, the angel would perform a magical healing to people who were waiting to be cured. This, however, was a superstition and produced false hope for many.
Jesus was attending one of the Jewish holy days when he spotted the lame man, along with many others who were sick, around the pool near the Sheep Gate. One man had been sick for thirty-eight years. Jesus felt compassion for him, offered him grace and said to him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”. This man, who could finally walk, was probably bubbling over with joy!
Focus: We discover that Jesus sees our needs and heals us, including the healing of our hearts and minds, in this story of God’s kindness and mercy.
God showers his love and grace on us, even when we don’t deserve it. Having Jesus in our lives brings us bubbly joy!
John 5:1-15 (Read the explanation in the footnotes for leaving out verse 4)
Children’s Storybook Bibles: There is a fantastic video at the end of this post that your family may want to view together. Also read the story of Jonah during the week from Celebrate Wonder Bible Storybook or The Jesus Storybook Bible.
Cultivate Faith Talk-The wondering questions enable all ages to see opportunities for new understandings and appreciation of the scriptures with its amazing messages instead of reading for information only.
You may choose from these “Wonder Questions” or create your own.
- I wonder why the man went to the Temple after he was healed?
- I wonder why Jesus disappeared after he healed the man?
- I wonder why Jesus decided to look for him?
- I wonder what made you feel joyful today?
(Late Elementary, Youth & Adults)
- I wonder what the Jewish leaders talked about on that night?
- I wonder what the man talked about with others on that night?
- I wonder why the man went to the Temple? I wonder if he prayed while in the Temple?
- What is most significant about this story?
- I wonder what you don’t want to forget about this story?
- I wonder why so many people were filled with false hope about the “stirred-up” and bubbling waters?
- I wonder about the similarities between the story of Jonah and the lame man at the Pool. I wonder how God healed the hearts and minds of Jonah and the man? How were they changed?
- The man was weak and relied on false hope. Jonah was weak, and ran away from God. I wonder how the Bible verse in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”) could help someone like Jonah and the lame man on their faith walk?
- Read the footnote about the verse 4 that is left out of the Bible in many Bible translations. I wonder why many chose to eliminate the verse and skip to verse 5?
- We know that Jonah followed God’s direction after being saved and receiving grace. I wonder what the man did with the rest of his life? Ultimately, do you believe he became a follower of Jesus? I wonder what the man’s next steps would be?
Family Faith-On-The-Go & In Your Household
- Notice the small and ordinary, but magical moments daily in your home space that signals an extraordinary event or healing of the body or heart. Stop in that moment, hold hands and thank God for these special moments.
- When swimming in the pool or taking a bubble bath, remember this story of God’s grace. Talk about how bubbly water in your bath can feel good, but could never really heal the body, heart or mind of a person.
- When you are in your yard, enjoy blowing bubbles and with each burst of “bubbling joy” thank God for your blessings. Grab your bubbles, celebrate and blow a few when someone’s heart is healed this week. Also mention that the huge bubbles are a scientific solution and not a healing power solution. You may want to create some huge bubbles. The recipe is at the end of this post (Note: All kids have “bu-bu-bubbling joy” with any size bubbles!)
- During the week, set the table for dinner using placemats or even paper towels and talk about what the man’s mat may have looked like and felt like. If you have a yoga mat, describe what it looks like. You may want to create a mat (or bookmark) from recycled cardboard box pieces and yarn. (See the directions at the end of this post.) Hint: you don’t have to use a plastic needle because you can tape the end of the yarn to thread though the loops easily.
“And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”
As you give blessings to your family, talk about how each one of these blessings relate to the stories of Jonah and the story of Jesus healing the lame man at the pool.
Blessings & Prayers (All Ages) Place your hand on your child’s shoulder or head or hold hands when giving the blessing. They may also repeat this short blessing for you as they place their hand on your shoulder or head.
Anytime Blessings: “I pray you always give yourself to the work of the Lord…your life is filled with blessings, talents and gifts.”
“God’s grace is sufficient for you, for His strength is made perfect in weakness.” (Adapted from 2 Corinthians 12:9)
“I pray you trust in the Lord always.”
“You are wonderfully made in God’s image…I know whatever you do in life, you will do with all your heart.”
“God’s love is with you…my love is with you…God bless you as you rest this night.”
“May you wait quietly for God…may your hope always be in Him.”
As Families Rush Out the Door: Place your hand on their shoulder and say, “God beside you, God behind you, God in front of you…Bless you today. Be your amazing self”
Instructions for Cardboard Weaving of a Mat/bookmark
Jesus Heals at Pools of Bethesda-Video for All Ages
Additional Background Information
Super Bubbles Recipe Using Dawn, Distilled Water, Cornstarch, Baking Powder, Glycerine