In John 5, festival scenes in the holy city are juxtaposed with the view of five porticoes full of invalids. Imagine dropping by the nursing home on your way to Christmas Eve services. One place is festive, filled with pretty clothes, color, light and music. The other location features crutches, canes and people who cannot hide their desperate need for healing.
Amid these contrasting scenes, we find Jesus with those who need a physician. In one of the porticoes, he strikes up a conversation with a man who has been ill for 38 years. The man is lying beside a pool whose waters are rumored to have healing properties, yet he cannot get to the water. Living with healing just out of reach has become a way of life for him.