Chapter 5 of John's Gospel tells about the man Jesus healed at the pool called Bethesda in Jerusalem. It is an old, familiar story to Christians, because of the way Jesus told him to, "Rise, take up your bed, and walk," and because of the religious leaders' response to his doing this on the Sabbath.
It confronts unbelief that we may have about the supernatural and whether it ever makes any difference in people's lives or is just something people "believe to feel better." As soon as the story opens, it tells us a "great multitude" of lame, blind and paralyzed people lay about the pool called Bethesda. It doesn't just say they believed that an angel stirred up the waters from time to time, or that it was said so. If we believe this is God's inspired Word, we must deal with the fact that it says, flat out, "For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool."
Additional evidence is that the man had been crippled for thirty-eight years and had hoped for a cure at Bethesda for a long, long time. Jesus asked him a reasonable question, "Do you want to be made well?" Others might have asked, "Are you just here to collect alms? Is that why you keep coming?" His answer was that he kept trying to be healed by being the first to step in after seeing the waters move, but he had to fend for himself and was too slow because he was crippled. If none of these people who went in ahead of him were ever healed, wouldn't this man eventually have said, "Eh, why bother?" The fact that he kept trying speaks loudly.
However long he had been coming to Bethesda in hope of a miracle, in all that time no one had bothered to notice that he needed help. If he had asked for it in the beginning, he had eventually given up. No one had offered to let him go before them and waited until the next opportunity themselves. No one, quite possibly nobody in thirty-eight years.
This man was sick, Scripture tells us, for thirty-eight years. He had been coming to Bethesda a long time, although we don't know for how much of that time. In all that time, when he kept trying to get up and reach the pool first, no one assisted him. "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool," he told Jesus. Other people ignored him in their rush to be first and get the benefit of the blessing. He was probably - no, certainly not the only person in that situation, just the worst.
Contrast this with the multiple accounts in Scripture of those who were brought by others to Jesus for healing, or to the apostles later. The difference between these people's love and generosity and the selfishness of those waiting for healing at the pool called Bethesda may be another illustration of the changed nature brought about by salvation. If those who brought their friends or neighbors to Jesus had already trusted in Him for salvation, then, although the Holy Spirit was not to be given to indwell believers until after Jesus ascended to the Father, they still could have been "born again" and have changed natures. (In the story of Zaccheus, Jesus said, "This day has salvation come...," not, "Salvation will come..."). The Light of the World clearly shows us the difference that faith in Christ causes in human nature. Jesus said to Nicodemus, [John 3], "Ye must be born again," and the story involving Bethesda shows why.
(See "About Me")