In the Bible, we read stories about people who saw how bad their conditions were and how others were excluded from the community. They were very troubled, and many broke the laws of the community. They broke the laws for the sake of their body, so that they would be made well.
I recently read a story about Philadelphe Delord’s experience as a missionary in Oceania. It is a story about what he saw in the leprosarium of Valbonne in France. One day, while passing through the village, the missionary saw a little hut away from the town center. Out of curiosity, he went to look in the hut. When he approached, he discovered a young girl who was about fifteen years old whose hands and feet were terribly deformed by the disease called leprosy; even her face was already affected, and she was horrible to see. The missionary asked a simple question to the young girl: “But who takes care of you?” The young girl answered, “No One. I have nobody.”
In Jesus’ day, there was a man who needed help to go into the Pool of Siloam, but no one was there to help him, until Jesus came and asked him if he needed someone to aid him. Indeed, Jesus asked, if he wanted to be made well, not wanting to assume he did.
It is a difficult question to answer: do we want to be made well? Do we want to receive health from the One who can heal us? Often it means responding by picking up our own mat and listening to what Jesus has to say. But more to the point: it means realizing that we all stand in the need of someone who can help us and to listen to what he has to say.